Sunday, April 28, 2019
Gusty and Lusty
We had some crazy, windy weather yesterday. The gusts on the patio bent over several plants and knocked one of my hollyhock seedlings (and its pot) right off the table. Nationwide winds were recorded at 60-70 mph, although we didn't get much rain -- just spatters. Apparently this was all due to Storm Hannah.
I took the dog to the cemetery in the morning, when it wasn't quite so windy, but otherwise we spent the day pretty much indoors. I finished "The Siege of Innocence," that old book Vivian sent me. I was surprised, actually, by how good it was -- a potboiler, but the author's vocabulary and writing style were quite sophisticated. It dealt with some unconventional subjects -- gay and transsexual characters, alcoholism, drug use, casual sex, kleptomania, you name it -- among an expatriate group in Paris and Venice in the '20s. But disappointingly it ultimately adhered to conventional mid-century norms, with the main character, Bruce (who throughout the book remained dully asexual despite advances from practically everybody) unconvincingly taking tentative steps toward a romance with a woman at the end. I can see why the reviews were meh.
Last night we continued our Mr. Ripley-themed weekend by watching "Purple Noon," a 1960 French movie starring the absurdly handsome Alain Delon. It was the first screen treatment of Patricia Highsmith's Ripley novels, with Delon playing Tom Ripley. Comparing it with the late '90s version was an interesting exercise -- the gay subtext was absent from "Purple Noon" (once again, those tiresome mid-century norms) with Ripley motivated entirely by money. But I loved the '50s European styles -- contemporaneous, this time, rather than retro -- and it was fun to watch!
(Photo: Tulse Hill, South London, last weekend.)