Besides our Oscar DVDs, we new books by four award-winning fiction writers. Two time Man Booker winner Peter Carey’s latest, “A Long Way from Home”, is a “brilliantly vivid” novel about a couple that enters a across-Australia car race. White Houses, the new story by Amy Bloom (National Book and Critics Circle award nominee), is about “one of the most intriguing relationships in history”*, that Eleanor Roosevelt and her “first friend”, Lorena Hickok. The late Denis Johnson, deemed by New Republic as “the best American writer of the past twenty-five years,” and author of the National Book Award-winning “Tree of Smoke”, is remembered by the story collection “Largesse of the Sea Maiden”. Finally, Edgar winner John Hart has written “The Hush”. A sequel to “The Last Child”, it takes the latter’s main character into his coming of age. The story should confirm Hart’s status as “a writer of unique power”.
Shipped and soon to arrive at the Nichols Library is The Shape of Water, this year’s winner of the Oscars for best picture and director (Guillermo del Toro). Eilisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute custodian working in a high-security government laboratory, discovers a humanoid amphibian that is the subject of a cold war experiment. The ensuing film is a ‘visually stunning” mix that is “part monster film, part romantic fable, and part Cold War thriller”. Other nominees on the way are I, Tonya, The Disaster Artist and Lady Bird.
“Get Out” took home the Oscar for the best original screenplay. “Social satire and mainstream horror elements merge” in this “strange and smartly written feature” about what happens when black man visits his white girl’s family Think Stepford Wives meets Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. “Call Me by Your Name” (shipped), a story of fleeting love between a professor’s son and his father’s summer intern, won the award for best adpated screenplay. Ironically so, since the reviews single out the film’s visuals and atmosphere for praise.
Just in at the Nichols Library: the first round of Oscar-winning movies on DVD, new fiction for a variety of tastes and thought-provoking stories from real life. Gary Oldman got the best actor nod for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour”. Oldman “brings Churchill vividly to life”, but then, Churchill handed the actor some of the best lines in history. The award for best actress went to Frances McDormand, who plays a woman who calls out her police chief for not doing his job by renting the titular Three Billboards outside Ebbing Missouri. “McDormand’s sorrow, festered into rage, is the emotional epicentre of the film”.
The UPS man came by yesterday. He delivered a tasty mix of thrillers, fiction and real-life stories.
Another nor’easter is hitting the region, so the Nichols Library will not open today. From the forecast: “A winter storm will evolve into a blizzard along coastal New England on Tuesday, pounding the region with heavy snow and powerful wind”. Best to lay low if you can.
“Sunburn” by Laura Lippman is about two loners, Polly and Adam, who meet in a sleepy Delaware not-quite-beach town. They begin an affair but each holds something back from the other— secrets that feed growing doubts about their motives. One is playing a long game. But which one? This is a “just-one-more chapter, stay-up-late suspense, but packed too with nuance [and] subtlety”(Lee Child).