The Sound and the Fury

Marilynne Robinson’s ‘Lila’ Is the New ‘The Sound and the Fury’

Marilynne Robinson’s new novel, Lila, like her last two, is set in the fictional town of Gilead, Iowa, sometime in the mid-20th century. And, like her last two novels, it is a debilitatingly beautiful study of faith and existential resilience. But unlike the last two novels, Lila’s title character is an idiot. (I’ll explain.) She also happens to be one of the most stunning creations in recent American fiction. … Read More

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10 Disappointing Film Adaptations of Classic American Novels

Not all great American novels make great American movies, and after three previous Gatsby movies, it’s surprising that Baz Luhrmann decided to try his hand at Fitzgerald’s novel. With the exception of John Steinbeck (and, depending on your taste, John Grisham), few American authors have produced a handful of novels fit for the cinema. This is not necessarily a bad thing — as far as artistic mediums go, film and novels are strikingly different. But while the literary world is a go-to for Hollywood executives hoping that popular novels will seamlessly transition to the screen (and achieve the same positive response), it isn’t exactly a reliable source of artistic or commercial hits. Among these ten adaptations are valiant efforts as well as unmitigated disasters, none of which successfully captured the charm of their source material. … Read More

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10 ‘Unfilmable’ Books That Made It to the Big Screen

Some books, critics say, are simply unfilmable. And it’s true — until, of course, they get filmed. This year, we feel like we can’t turn around without running into a new film adaptation of a book that has, until now, been generally agreed to be too stylistically complex, too structurally strange, too epic in proportion for the big screen. While we’re still waiting on Pale Fire and 100 Years of Solitude, we’re getting two in the next two weeks alone: Cloud Atlas and Midnight’s Children. Inspired by this turn of events, we’ve put together a list of a few supposedly unfilmable books that have been adapted into films against all odds — some with great success, and others with, well, less success. Read our list after the jump, and add your own unfilmable favorites in the comments! … Read More

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