Saturday, February 18, 2006

I Capture the Castle - Dodie Smith

Wow ! Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle is utterly compelling reading. In describing it to my Mum today, I called it Jane Austen for the 20th century: two poor girls, two rich eligible men, one run-down and poorly furnished home... Of course, I'm a Jane Austen fan, so it would have been hard for this book not to suceed with me, but Cassandra, the youngest of the poor girls, is a totally engaging narrator, refreshingly frank and quite funny too. The book starts with a brilliantly compelling opening line: "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink" - how could anyone not continue reading with an opening line like that ?! This book kept me reading until long past my bedtime on two nights this week - always a sure sign of a book that's hard to put down.

I found Mortmain and Topaz intriguing characters, puzzled over just what Leda Fox-Cotton was up to with Stephen, admired Thomas' astuteness, and sighed deeply over the less-than-perfect-happiness of the ending (all Jane's heroines got their man, so I wanted Cassandra to get her man too !).

The library copy of this book had a film tie-in cover - and I was surprised to discover that Marc Blucas (Riley Finn from Buffy's seasons 4 and 5) was in it; since I was intrigued to know how they would reproduce Cassandra's narration, knowing that the first person narration of About a Boy didn't work very well for me in the film compared with the book, I've borrowed the film from the library to watch on Tuesday after I get back from the Bod. (as I'll be watching the final few episodes of Buffy's season 5 tomorrow). So expect a review of the film next week.

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Season 5 of Buffy is my absolute favourite - despite the significant deaths in it. I particularly like Buffy getting the upper hand over the Watchers' Council in "Checkpoint" - especially when she throws the Knight's sword at the council guy when he interrupts her ! The look of utter astonishment on the faces of the Council members is brilliant - and the look of pride on Giles' face is very enjoyable indeed.


Anonymous said...

Am I the only person who just didn't enjoy this book? I thought it was boring. Sorry.

Kate S. said...

Very nice write up on I Capture the Castle! It's is one of my all time favourite books. I worried about the film as I rarely like the film versions of books that I love. I think that they didn't do too badly with that one though. I will be curious to hear your views on the film.

Michele said...

Jax, I don't suppose you are the only one who hated it, but I know a lot of people who love it (judging by how often it's mentioned fondly on Child_Lit for example).

Kate, I did think of watching the movie before reading the book, as it would mean I wasn't judging the film on the book, but I couldn't get hold of a copy of the film before yesterday, and I was too darned impatient to read the book ! All things being equal, the film review will appear on Tuesday.