Tawdry Quirkshop

My Storytellers Unplugged essay this month is about translators: Lost in Translation. A lot of the essay consists of an interview I conducted with Tullio Dobner, who has been translating Stephen King’s novels for many years and also translated The Stephen King Illustrated Companion for Sperling & Kupfer. I will have a more complete version of the interview in issue 65 of Cemetery Dance.

We had our first significant rain in a while on Friday night. A good thunder boomer, complete with bowling balls and lightening.

We watched An Education, which finally showed up on our OnDemand system. It was a fascinating movie, with something of a Great Gatsby feel to it. Carey Mulligan looked like a young Audrey Hepburn at times, and her absolute delight in the wonders of the world made the screen light up. Alfred Molina plays her well-meaning but misguided father. An interesting, unsympathetic bit part for Emma Thompson as the matriarch of the school who comes down hard on Jenny after she sows her wild oats. Rosamund Pike plays a real dingbat–she seems totally clueless about virtually everything going on in her world. A fascinating look at a changing world and the role of women in it.

Survivor wrapped up last night. The final challenge was pretty funny — the blindfolded maze. The players ended up pawing at each other and at one point Sandra almost tugged of Parvati’s top. It was a combination of blind man’s bluff and a zombie walk, with a photo finish, too. I thought Parvati would get more of the votes at the end–I think she played a savvy game, but was tainted by her affiliation with Russell in the final analysis. Russell still doesn’t get it that making it to the final three is only half the battle. Getting to the final three without having the entire jury hating your guts–that’s the trick. He’s done this twice; same result. His argument to Jeff that “America” should get more of a say in the outcome was nicely handled by the host: that’s not the game we’re playing. I didn’t see him on the morning show today, but I expect he spouted off more of the same. The live reunion show was lots of fun, as always. I wished it were longer. Unfortunately, Russell is probably going to feel validated by the results of the Verizon contest. He did make the game interesting but, as Ruper said, many of the players are connivers instead of survivors.

There was an interesting clip in the preview for The Mentalist’s season finale. Made me think that Red John is actually Dexter. Wouldn’t that be a crossover?

I finished Broken by Karin Slaughter. Review to come. Question for anyone who’s read other recent books by Slaughter: does Will Trent appear in them? I find it hard to swallow that someone with his reading disability could rise to the level he has in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. How does he take written tests? How does he read reports and handle all the other paperwork the job requires? How does he even find his way to crime scenes if he can’t follow directions?

I did a Sons of Anarchy marathon this weekend, finishing the entire first season. It’s a very well crafted show, with great characters and a season-long arc that works on every level. I like it that these guys aren’t just hardasses. They all have soft edges, just like real people. The colossal FUBAR over Opie, wow. Ally Walker looked like she was having a ton of fun as the lascivious ATF agent, and her scenes with Katey Sagal were smokin’.

Just one episode of Ashes to Ashes left. I wonder if Gene Hunt will ever get to see the stars like the other coppers can. Mr. JLB Matakoni showed up again. Last week it was Doctor Who, this week he’s playing an ANC rebel with a cause. There seems to be a lot to wrap up in just an hour. Will Sam Tyler make an appearance? Will they end up in space suits on Mars? One question I had about the photos Alex had developed–how do you end up with writing on the back of one of them? Did Jim Keats write it?

An interesting episode of Doctor Who. I’m not sure that I entirely liked it, but it had a couple of fascinating details. First, there was Toby Jones as the Dream Lord, a match for the Time Lord. He seemed as gleefully evil as a Batman villain, and for a while I thought we were meant to believe he was the Master. After all, the Doctor described him as the only person in the universe who hated him that much. The revelation of his true identity raised as many questions about the Doctor’s psyche as it answered. Favorite line: If you had any more tawdry quirks you could open a tawdry quirkshop.

Amy got some good lines, too  (“If we’re going to die, let’s die dressed like a Peruvian folk band”), but I liked Rory’s comment. “I carried you. I fear you may experience some bruising.” Her prank about going into labor to see the Doctor’s reaction was pretty good, too. Creepy old folks wandering the village were effective, too, though I tire of gaping-mouth-annoying-noise-making aliens. The episode had a superficial quality to it, something that kept me from being overly invested in its outcome. But Toby Jones was fun.

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One Response to Tawdry Quirkshop

  1. Chris Kepner says:

    Will Trent appears in three other Karin Slaughter books, in chronological order: TRIPTYCH, FRACTURED, and UNDONE. She does a great job of building this character, to the point that he’s now a favorite among her legions of fans.