Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In bed with Anna ...

Mid September, 2010
"All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." - Leo Tolstoy's opening line to his 1875-1878 novel, Anna Karenina.

As you can see, I have taken Alexander McCall Smith's advice about opening lines - and their importance - seriously! It looks like Anna Karenina may well be an intriguing read! I certainly have HIGH expectations.

And yes, we've finally done it! Our book club has chosen Anna Karenina as its next book - and we have given each other six weeks or so (I think it is 46 days from today, actually) to read her 963 pages. That’s roughly 160 pages per week. Or 23 pages per day. Almost a page an hour! Yikes!

The lovely thing, though, is that our book club also enjoyed The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery earlier in the year. We supplemented this quirky award-winning French drama with the movie based on the book, which was showing as part of the French film festival here in Sydney. I have to say, I never expect much from movies based on books. It’s too disheartening. Especially if I have read - and really enjoyed - the book. For example, I did not really like
The Kite Runner film, but loved the book. This French film, aptly named The Hedgehog, took me by surprise, though. It was actually a great interpretation - and extension - of the novel. I really, really enjoyed it. The producers took a good story, and turned it into a great film. They added a few extra dimensions to the story that enhanced it, rather than devalued it.

Anyway, I remember EXACTLY the look on the concierge's (aka the hedgehog) face, when her new Japanese tenant completed the above Anna Karenina quote back at her - after she mumbled the opening line at him under her breath ... and the look of horror and surprise on her face, when she realises that she has been caught out for being so well-read! Imagine, a 'lowly' concierge having a fetish for great books and stories, and cheekily dropping their lines in to her every-day speech. Non-one had ever taken much notice of her before, or realised whom she was quoting. She quite enjoyed entertaining herself at the oblivious cost of her previously unsuspecting, rich, less well educated tenants!

Now, I myself can look forward to an education. Reading (and hopefully enjoying) the original epic. Don't expect me to quote its lines at you any time soon, though! Well, maybe just occasionally!

So, while Elliott is in Seoul on business and my two little men are snoring, I will be taking Anna to bed with me. I only hope that I can get through this epic in time for our next book club get-together!

Has anyone else enjoyed or quoted Anna K. recently?!


No comments: