Troy by Stephen Fry

Well, he’s done it again, so there’s not much to say really: if you loved the first two (Mythos and Heroes) then there’s no reason why you’re not going to get the same thrill and the occasional sly smile out of Troy. It’s the same characters we travelled with (in varying depths of detail) in the first two outings, but transposed to the decade-long battle to break the city of Troy.

If you don’t know the story then it more or less starts with a prince called Paris, who judges a contest of goddesses to decide who is the fairest of them all (that never ends well). In return for choosing Aphrodite, he is ‘given’ Helen, thought to be the most beautiful woman on earth, and takes her to his bed behind the walls of Troy. (It should be noted that Helen was under the influence of Aphrodite, so none of this is really her fault). As you can guess, there are handful of kingly-types who are none too pleased about this, one of them being Helen’s husband, Menelaus who, with more than enough help from his bigger, angrier brother Agamemnon, raises an army to take her back.

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Book review: Luster by Raven Leilani

I finished reading Luster on new year’s eve, then I had sit down for a couple of days to think hard on what I thought about it.

I mean I liked it, loved it in fact, but I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. Is it literary fiction, literary erotica, commercial literary erotic fiction?

Anyway, I have hard enough job genrefying my own work, so I probably shouldn’t worry too much about pigeonholing someone else’s . . .

The story is told from the raw, stream of consciousness of Edie, an editorial coordinator for a children’s book publisher. She has no money, her dreams are worn hollow, and she can’t see a future any different from the life she has now. So Edie tries to fill the void in her life by having semi-casual sex with just about every man (and one woman) in the office (even with someone who works in the IT department if you can believe it). After she’s fired (it was always going to happen) she focusses her energies on the affair she’s having with Eric, a middle-aged man with a strangely accommodating wife, Rebecca, and an adopted daughter, Akila. How far does this affair go?

Well, far enough that she moves in with them . . . 

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Soul

This one comes from the Pixar Studios, which as far as I can remember, has never put a foot wrong. The film was supposed to be out last summer, but suffered the same fate as a lot of movies set for a June outing: faced with the prospect of empty cinemas, the studios delayed the release, hoping that the pandemic would be sorted by Christmas.

Well, for the UK and the US . . . not even close. So with no end in sight, the studios have three options:

  1. Keep delaying the film until audiences can return to the picture houses, and hope they’re still interested in seeing it. (No Time to Die)
  2. Release to the cinemas anyway and hope enough people are willing to risk infection to see it. (Wonder Woman 1984)
  3. Release it to a streaming service and see if it attracts new customers.

Pixar went for option number 3 (which they can do since they can stream on Disney+), and frankly, they deserve to have the gamble pay off.

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