The Letter Opener

Once upon a time, while I was at U of T, I saw Kyo Maclear on some panel discussion. I don't remember any of the details of what she said or did, I just had the sense that she was one seriously smart person. That was a long time ago and now that I have read her novel, The Letter Opener, I felt, wow, indeed, an awesome mind produced this. So unexpected and thoughtful in every moment. Not a lot happens and I was astonished by how compelling I found the experience of reading it. So compassionate. So intimate. 

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The Intern

I enjoyed the contemporary themes in The Intern and the way it brushed on many aspects of our society — ageism, sexism, tech entrepreneurs, and relationships. Maybe I had the most problem with the pathetic stay-at-home dad but I enjoyed the Pollyanna optimism of The Intern in the way deNiro portrayed a retired widower as the senior intern looking for something to do, who becomes a valued mentor to Hathaway's harried young entrepreneur of a web-based clothing company. I thought it was fun to contrast these roles with deNiro as a gangster or Hathaway as an ingenue. 

Train Wreck

I liked Train Wreck more than I expected. The ads suggested the Amy Schumer character was a kind of drunken mess that might seem cool when you're younger but seems pathetic when you're older. Though she does play the messed up one who has to sort out her priorities, generally it fits a rom-com mould with a few raunchy scenes that were verbal more than visual. Basketball star LeBron James is unexpectedly fun playing himself as a compassionate friend. Maybe because of evolution, films where people end up happy not being together seem to only be for art houses.

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Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki

Other Haruki Murakami stories I have enjoyed contain something profoundly weird in their world. Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki is not like this, though I kept expecting it to be. Also this story seemed more Japanese in its outlook with the yearning to belong to a group and the reluctance to express feelings. It has some odd situations, which I imagined would lead to some bizarre explanation, but instead, they were just left unexplained. This culminated with an abrupt ending. I was especially surprised because I was listening to it as an audiobook so I didn't know when the end was coming.

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