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Neshama's Choices for 3rd week in June

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This installment: a touching film about relationships; a blockbuster thriller; a novel about academic  pressure; and a Finnish mystery.

 

   Beginners

 

A touching film about relationships. There's the rocky romance between a French actress and a graphic designer who's just lost his father. And said father's coming out at a late age after the death of his wife of 45 years! And the father's very cute dog (the same Jack Russell who starred in "The Artist"). Christopher Plummer plays the father with great charm. We discover the childhood scars that inhibit love but--whew--amor vincet omnes. There are historic film clips and the whole enterprise has a dreamy, circular quality which I enjoyed.

 

   Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay

 

This falls into the category of blockbuster thriller, one I seldom dip into. But this featured a crazy person so I gave it a whirl and was thoroughly caught up. A schizophrenic, Thomas, "travels" everywhere in the world via a kind of Google Earth from his bedroom. He spots something very weird in a window in NYC. His brother Ray, who tends him, offers to look into it, mostly to placate Thomas, and uncovers a series of disturbing coincidences. Politics, dirty tricks, and an attractive hit woman all come into play and there's a slam bang finale. Good plot, lively characters.

 

   Accelerated by Bronwen Hruska

 

Toby, 8, is very anxious at Bradley School, a prestigious institution that promotes "excellence" at considerable cost. He's distractible, jumpy (what 8 year old boys aren't?) and administration strongly suggests medication. His dad Sean is suspicious of and resistant to this plan but eventually caves in under pressure. The consequences are horrendous and the school's behind-the-scenes agenda is ultimately exposed. Meanwhile Sean's marriage is crumbling. His wife is driven and distant; her parents are Bradley alums, boosters, and pay Toby's tuition. Sean's an art director for Buzz magazine, and there's lots of action featuring celebrity gossip and tweaking the facts. Entertaining, with a serious slant.

 

   Outrage by Arnaldur Indridason

 

A Finnish mystery that starts with the bizarre discovery of a slashed body and a raped girl cowering nearby. She can't remember what transpired, but the corpse’s mouth is stuffed with Rohypnol pills, the date-rape drug. Elinborg, a woman detective, is in charge of the investigation. She finds a few leading clues: a shawl emitting the scent of tandoori spices and a t-shirt emblazoned with SF. Confessions pop up from both the girl and her father. Eventually the twisted story emerges and even links key players to another girl, long missing. Lots of psychological inquiry here--so much more than who-dun-it.

 

Back next Monday.

 

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Posted by: Neshama

Neshama works at the Fairfax Library.

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