Mark Helprin wrote ‘Winter’s tale’ many years ago - 1983 I think. It is one of my favourite books.
The story is set in New York City, but it is an arctic city; cold and snowy and set at the turn of the century. But it is a magic world. The language is poetic and doesn’t appeal to everyone. The main character, Peter Lake, is a middle-aged Irish burglar. When he attempts to rob a mansion he finds a girl who sleeps on the roof in the snow. Her name is Beverly Penn and she is dying. They fall in love.
This is a quote from the book: “Nothing is random, nor will anything ever be, whether a long string of perfectly blue days that begin and end in golden dimness, the most seemingly chaotic political acts, the rise of a great city, the crystalline structure of a gem that has never seen the light, the distributions of fortune, what time the milkman gets up, the position of the electron, or the occurrence of one astonishing frigid winter after another.”
So imagine my gasp when I read that it is being made into a movie. And with Colin Farrell as the middle aged Irish burglar. (tick) And Russell Crowe as the NY gang leader who is in constant battle with Lake. (ooh… tick) Russell does a very good thug.
Cue me whispering… oh please, oh please…
One of my other favourite books (I do have one or two) is the Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. This one dates from 1911 and is the story of a spoiled, sickly girl who is orphaned and sent to live with her uncle in Yorkshire. My childhood edition had beautiful line drawing illustrations that made me yearn for a secret garden of my own.
Mary is an awful child, but she finds a garden locked up behind a door. The garden and some friends from the servant class, teach her valuable life lessons and she begins to change for the better.
It’s the kind of book that I read to my own children. And cried, I might add. I adore it.
So the news that it, too would be made into a movie made me squee. It has been done before, several times, but this news mentioned Guillermo del Toro - the man who made Pan’s labyrinth, Hellboy and Blade 2 amongst others. Hmmm… I read the article and I saw this quote:
"[the movie] will be set in the American South at the turn of the 20th Century."
Wait… what???! The whole point is that it is an English garden.
Noooo *wails* How can they move the quintessentially English book about a girl born in the colonies who discovers the magic of rural England and thick accented servants, to the south of the United States of America? Del Toro likes fairies but here there is no magic and no mystery; it is the garden and exercise that heal her.
Chews nails - worries.
Do you have a favourite movie that was a perfect representation of the book?