By Charles Dickens
A few months ago BN and I were invited by our friends the K’s to watch the BBC miniseries Bleak House. We went over to their house for 3 or 4 Mondays to watch the next installment they’d gotten from Netflix. Each episode was only about 25 minutes but there were about 12 of them. It was really good! Definitely very suspenseful and more thrilling than many of those literary movies – don’t get me wrong, I love the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice as much as the next anglo-biblio-phile. This one was just more mysterious and dark. We really liked the characterization, everybody was appropriately endearing, tragic, or repulsive. We also liked the lighting – very moody and from “natural” sources – like one candle, or the dim light coming in from a rainy day into a cavernous hall. Lovely. We were a little amused at the over-dramatized scene transitions, they used this kind of “zoom” effect, complete with whooshing sounds. Any time there was a horse or carriage ride, they would speed through the night as if the headless horseman was after them. A bit much, that part. But on the whole it was really, really good. Of course when it was over I was itching to read the book! This is the second book in a row I’ve read after seeing the movie – usually I prefer to do it the other way around. But, I’ve found I can slow down and enjoy the quality of the writing if I’m not rushing to find out what happens.
So, now I’ve finished the book. I’m positive that I read it before, but somehow it didn’t stick. I didn’t remember much at all from the book while I was watching the movie, and then when I re-read the book it really didn’t come back much more at all. Very strange. I guess I must have been younger when I read it than I recall. Anyway, it’s a good, good story. It’s exciting, like the movie, with lots of interesting characters and scene changes, lots of mystery, and juxtapositions of humor and pathos in typical Dickens style.
I think this is a first – I’m going to recommend that you watch the movie, enjoy the suspense and meet the main characters. Then read the book, to add layers of subtlety and more characters and connections between them. Enjoy!