Take what you want and pay for it, says God

This has been a nice, relaxing weekend. WALL-E was, predictably, adorable, although for some reason it didn’t exactly strike as much of a chord with me as it has with other people–maybe it’s because I like dialogue so much I can’t stand it when there’s no talking in a movie for forty-five minutes. But the animation was spectacular, the story was cute, and WALL-E was full-on the sweetest little robot you ever saw on screen. Still, I probs don’t need to ever see it again.

Wanted, on the other hand, blew my mind. I loved every freaking second of that movie, also predictable, because it stars the lovely, amazingly talented, HOT James McAvoy. It’s also insanely violent, and while that never fails to make me cringe it was done in such an interesting, humorous, off-the-wall way that even I enjoyed it. I think what makes the movie great, besides the talent and the flawed-but-engrossing story and the kick-ass action sequences, is that it has such a personality to it. You feel–at least, I felt–that only one person could ever have made this movie, and that person is Timur Bekmambetov, who must be an absolute psycho in real life, but an entertaining, brilliant psycho.

I also got a lot of time to read this weekend, which has been really awesome. The only social engagement I had (outside seeing Wanted with my roommate), was brunch with some old friends from Chicago, both of whom work in publishing in some way or another. We went to the Sunburnt Cow in Alphabet City, which has all-you-can-drink mimosas and bloody marys, and some really excellent food–we will definitely be going back there, despite the fact that it is SO FAR from the train.

I spent all weekend reading The Likeness. It would be wrong to call it a sequel to In the Woods, but perhaps it is in spirit–the narrator this time is a main character from the last novel, Cassie Maddox, who takes a little getting used to. I really, really loved Rob Ryan, the completely fucked up but lovable narrator of In the Woods, and it was tough being back in his world and having to let go of the fact that he’s no longer germane to the story. Cassie has her reasons for avoiding him, but naturally he pops up in her thoughts from time to time, as does Operation Vestal, the investigation that brought Cassie and Sam O’Neill, another Murder detective, together, broke Rob and Cassie apart, and separated Cassie from herself in more than one way.

God, if I could just be as good a writer as Tana French. The woman has talent coming out of her pores, her language is so excellent and yet completely unpretentious. I don’t know that I’ve ever admired a living writer so much–her deftness with words is really remarkable. Anyway. So I missed Rob, but Cassie is a likable person, and the story is just so different from In the Woods, but retains the personal connection between the detective and the crime that made the previous book so intense. I wouldn’t say I loved it as much as I loved In the Woods, because the connection I felt to that book was so surprisingly strong, but The Likeness is very, very good and I think, with its less vague conclusion, more people will like it than liked In the Woods.

It also made me think a lot about one particular thing–is there anything more sinister than a group of impossibly close, young, intelligent friends in a murder mystery? Is there? It’s a really common trope, if you think about it–The Likeness is but the most recent example I’ve come across, but there’s the classic The Secret History by Donna Tartt, or the more recent group of Bluebloods in Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics. The Likeness revolves around just such a group, which Cassie, who looks creepily like the victim of a stabbing, infiltrates in order to uncover who really killed her when the police can find no leads or suspects. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

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