Thursday, February 11, 2010

#49 M.Butterfly by David Henry Hwang

This play is based on a true story, believe it or not. For how could Rene Gallimard not have known that Song Liling, the woman he loved for twenty years was really a man? Song creates the fantasy of the perfect woman: She is beautiful, seductive and wants only to fulfill her man’s every desire. Or so Gallimard thinks. Song is a spy for the Chinese government and Gallimard’s position as a French diplomat is the target of her “womanly wiles”. Gallimard claims to have had no idea that his painted lady was no butterfly at all. Not so hard to believe; every fool in love is eager to be deceived.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

#48 A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Gene returns to the Devon School, site of the angst of his teenage years. He is older, but the school looks younger, varnished and gleaming. Equally varnished are Gene’s memories of Phineas, his best friend while at the Devon School. Finny, an adroit charmer and natural athlete, makes life look easy. He is everything Gene is not. When an accident involving Gene, a high tree, and a questionably clumsy Phineas puts an end to his physical prowess, Gene must ask himself a hard question: Did he cause Finny’s fall on purpose? Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between a friend and a frenemy until you’re falling out of the tree.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

#47 Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne

It’s sort of like the show Seinfeld, but with more songs and pine trees. Pooh is the Jerry of the book, as he always breaks even and never comes to any harm. He and his friends, Piglet, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga, and Roo also spend the day visiting each other’s apartments (that is, tree houses) and muddling through the absurdities that fill their lives. But this book, unlike that show, is not about nothing. It is about friendship, imagination and the wonder of childhood. Pooh could give Jerry a few lessons on dealing with life’s little Heffalumps with a “hummy” song, a smackerel of “hunny,” and a quiet stroll though the woods.