Earlier this year I read Lion, the true story of a little boy who survives the streets of Kolkata before being adopted by an Australian family. Years later, he tracks down his mother in rural India using Google Earth. It became a hit movie, which inspired me to get cracking with more novels destined to reach our screens!
Ophelia, by Lisa Klein, finished filming in July after shooting in the Czech Republic, with Daisy Ridley in the title role.
Lisa Klein’s re-imagining of Hamlet from his love interest’s point of view has forever banished thoughts of Ophelia as a tragic waif. When the story opens she’s a motherless girl moving with her ambitious father Polonius and callow brother Laertes to the court of Danish King Hamlet.
Yet under Queen Gertrude’s capricious care, Ophelia grows into an intelligent woman. She becomes an expert in botany and herbology, learning to cure the ailments of people at court. To escape the tragedy engulfing her country, she uses those skills to feign madness and death.
I was a bit doubtful when I read that the characters talk with ‘contemporary language’, but it’s a far cry from “Yo Hamlet, your mother’s a total MILF.” (Gertrude will be played by Naomi Watts.)
There is a vivid sense of time and place – Klein is a professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance literature. It’s an atmospheric YA novel with an impressive heroine, useful for young readers wanting to gain a better understanding of Shakespeare.
The Lost Wife, by Alyson Richman: Production status unknown!
Daisy Ridley is having a busy time! In The Lost Wife, she is slated to play Lenka, a young art student living with her well-heeled Jewish family in pre-WWII Prague. She falls in love with a friend’s older brother, Josef, who is following his father’s footsteps into medicine.
While Josef escapes with his family for the USA, Lenka’s own family are sent to the ghetto Terezin, where art became a way to resist the Nazi regime. She joins the underground painters’ movement, who managed to smuggle their work to the outside world.
Author Richman studied art history, and she’s written a very, glamorous, beautiful novel which is perfect for fans of this genre of Holocaust chick lit.
There seems to be few updates about the potential movie, but I hope they change it so that the ending….is at the end.
Annihilation (Southern Reach #1) by Jeff VanderMeer, is soon to be released on Netflix in the UK.
Four women are sent by a secret government agency to investigate Area X, a stretch of quarantined coast in the USA.
The Biologist, the Psychologist, the Surveyor and the Anthropologist (we’re given no names) uncover a terrifying force writing on the walls of an subterranean tower: “Where lies the strangling fruit that came from the hand of the sinner…”
As if I had breathed in the spores from the cover, the genre-defying Annihilation is immersive and sinister.
It does take the Biologist’s field journal as source material, and while she’s content spending hours observing lifeforms in tidal pools, I’m not! The novel also flashes back to her life with her husband, who volunteered for an earlier, doomed, expedition.
I hope the movie doesn’t end up like Alien Covenant, with scientists behaving stupidly while trudging through the wilderness. Luckily, it’s directed by Alex Garland, who proved he knows a thing or two about creepy tension with Ex Machina!
The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber, which is now an Amazon pilot, renamed Oasis.
From a woman of science to a man of faith – King of the North Richard Madden has gone interstellar, playing a chaplain in budget sci-fi Oasis, which also stars Haley Joel Osment.
The pilot takes as very loose inspiration Michel (Under the Skin) Faber’s melancholy novel The Book of Strange New Things (published in 2014). Chaplain Peter Leigh leaves his beloved wife to work for a shadowy multinational, ministering to the native inhabitants of a distant colonized planet named Oasis.
Peter’s new congregation were introduced to the Bible by his (missing) predecessor. They’ve taken to it enthusiastically, calling themselves Jesus Lover One, Jesus Lover Two, etc. Their ‘faces’ resemble “a placenta with two foetuses…nestled knee to knee.”
To speak their language, Peter would “need to rip off his own head and gargle through the stump.” (Any linguists want a challenge?!)
A monumental, genre-defying novel about grief, it seems very unlikely that the pilot will go to series.