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Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Writer's Life 6/4 - Big Hearts

I don't object to the judicious use of stereotypes, as many people conform to them, but a writer must navigate a fine line and avoid the broad stroke that paints an entire group with a single stroke. No work is entirely free of them. but Brooklyn (2015), which I watched last night courtesy of Netflix, comes close. The decency of most of the characters is refreshing. The Irish priest, played by the great Jim Broadbent, is compassionate and exemplary. The Italian suitor and his family are lout-free. There are no drunks on hand. This is a positive depiction of the immigrant classes. The focus is a young Irish woman played beautifully by Saoirse Ronan, whose performance was nominated for an Oscar. Shy, reserved, she is miserably homesick and guilt-ridden at first. Then she meets Tony. The narrative reminds those privileged to have been born in America how daring their parents were, something I too long took for granted, the thought of which fills me with shame. Why wasn't it obvious? Why was I such a know-it-all? Anyway, enough about me and back to this fine film. It is a quiet slice of life, an examination of the human condition. Nick Hornby adapted the screenplay from a novel by Colm Toibin. Hornby has written a number of novels, two of which were highly successful film adaptations: About a Boy (2002) and High Fidelity (2000). John Crowley, whose previous work is unfamiliar to me, directed. 65,000+ users at IMDb have rated Brooklyn, forging to a consensus of 7.5 of ten. On a scale of five, I rate it four. It was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. I enjoyed it more than the other nominees I've seen: Bridge of Spies, The Martian, and Mad Max Fury Road. I'm sure most movie-goers would disagree.

RIP Muhammad Ali, 74. I am conflicted about him. He was one of the greatest boxers of all time, beloved worldwide. He refused to serve in the military, although it is highly doubtful he would have been sent to fight in Vietnam. Although he avoided jail time, he was banned from the ring for three years in the prime of his career. He was one of the first athletes to showboat, something that is now epidemic. His treatment of Joe Frazier leading up to their three legendary bouts was disgraceful. Even though he was probably just trying to sell tickets, drum up interest, it was unnecessary. Today he is forgiven, revered almost universally. And no one would ever question his heart, which was huge, as evidenced in those three unbelievable fights with the late Frazier, whose heart equaled Ali's.  

The floating book shop took in more money than usual today but hardly a lot. Still, the session felt like a big success. My thanks to the kind folks who bought, donated and swapped, especially the gentleman who, having been impressed with A Hitch in Twilight, purchased Close to the Edge. My thanks also to young Asian man overpaid for Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. I must have sold at least five copies of it the past few years. The highlight of the day was the appearance of a fortyish woman who last week promised pictorials. She arrived beaming, a severely handicapped teenage male in tow, whom I believe is her son. She handed me a bag full of books -- and returned 15 minutes later with more! The exemplary character -- the heart -- of some human beings is astonishing. If there's a heaven, she's a lock to enter.
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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