Must we burn the novel?

For discussion of John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel Låt den rätte komma in
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PeteMork
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Re: Must we burn the novel?

Post by PeteMork » Mon Apr 02, 2018 2:08 pm

Wolfchild wrote:
Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:38 pm
...As much as I love the film, for me it lacked this sense of acceleration at the end. This not a criticism. The calm, steady pacing through out the film is absolutely part of its charm, and perhaps in some ways the source of its power. But film is a different medium than literature. Things that are possible in one are not possible in the other. The same story can be told in both, but as the art of storytelling approaches a high level, you cannot say that one medium could replace the other. In the novel, JAL provided a different kind of ride that was really not possible in the film. The film could not devote that same amount of space to making all the the characters surrounding Oskar seam real. On the other hand, being a visual medium, characters can become real just by virtue of being present. Characters in literature must be made real by the author. Thus I believe that the fillet that John and Tomas found in the novel only became the fillet with the transition from novel to film. What became a fillet on screen would not even have been a snack in print.

I think this is the heart of the matter; why the same story told in different media still rings true. You simply cannot mess too much with a perfect storm before it becomes merely another messy winter squall.

Thanks for bringing this thread back, gattoparde59. It's just one of the thousands of gems in Wolfchild's "Magnificent Obsession." :wub:
We never stop reading, although every book comes to an end, just as we never stop living, although death is certain. (Roberto Bolaño)

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gattoparde59
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Re: Must we burn the novel?

Post by gattoparde59 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 9:28 pm

I just read through this thread again and Wow! The ghosts of infections gone by. :(

I'll break open the story and tell you what is there. Then, like the others that have fallen out onto the sand, I will finish with it, and the wind will take it away.

Nisa

manananmaclir
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Re: Must we burn the novel?

Post by manananmaclir » Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:00 am

I have to preface this by saying I never would have read the novel had I not seen the film. The film was enchanting, and made me want more. The novel was a whole different level. There were so many things in the book that never made it to the screen ("No banaaaanas?"). Having said that, some of the more objectionable parts of the book really helped set up the counterpoint between the children at the core, and the adult world they lived in. Eli was neutered at age 12, right on the cusp before the body would have been flooded with the hormones that would transform Eli into a fully sexual adult. Oskar is 12, and as such is at the same place. Right on the cusp. This is reinforced when Oskar is looking at the porno in the basement. His response is curiosity rather than desire.

Think about the scene in the book where Hakan is sitting outside the bathroom. It is clear that his "love" is based on the hoped for promise of a sexual relationship with Eli. He is interested in Eli's body first, everything else is filtered through the lens of lust. He even comments on how he can never achieve the lightness of Eli and Oskar's relationship. He is bothered by Eli's re-emerging humanity. He doesn't want to play. At least not in that sense. When his rational and human mind is destroyed, he becomes a monster completely and explicitly driven by that lust. Eli becomes a simple object for him to vent his sexual urges on. You could argue that, beneath his rationalizing, that was really all Eli ever was to him.

Oskar's interest in Eli is shown in sharp contrast to that. "She looks sad." He wants to hug her. To make everything okay. Whether you felt that the scenes with Hakan were appropriate or not, they did provide a powerful contrast to the relative purity of Oskar and Eli.

Of course you could also discuss the inherent violence of Oskar and Eli's relationship. Eli is, after all, a predator, and Oskar desperately wants to be strong and confident enough to hurt and kill those who torment him. Whether he would actually have taken it from fantasy to action is another discussion entirely.

The movie was sweet, but the book was really incredible. Having said that, reading through the book again, I find that I tend to skip some of the unpleasant Hakan scenes. I know what happened, and don't feel the need to dwell on it.

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JToede
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Re: Must we burn the novel?

Post by JToede » Thu Feb 11, 2021 3:19 am

manananmaclir wrote:
Thu Feb 11, 2021 1:00 am
I have to preface this by saying I never would have read the novel had I not seen the film. The film was enchanting, and made me want more. The novel was a whole different level.
It's the same for me. I saw the movie first, then read the book. I think if I read the book first then saw the movie, I would still feel the same. The possible problem with any book being turned into a movie is reading you have a vision of what is going on, the feelings of the characters, the environment, etc. A movie can take that away and replace it with what the director feels like doing. Tomas Alfredson did it right. He told the story of Eli and Oskar.
Well these are my inane ramblings, thanks for listening. Welcome to The Infected.
Veni, Vidi, volo in domum redire.

danielmann861
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Re: Must we burn the novel?

Post by danielmann861 » Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:33 pm

Why would I ever want to burn something I love?

danielmann861
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Re: Must we burn the novel?

Post by danielmann861 » Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:48 pm

gattoparde59 wrote:
Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:05 pm

I guess the best way to pose this question is to ask whether we should accept the judgment of the film adaptation: that what we see in the film represents the “fillet” of the novel and the rest should be discarded as literary offal. Do you think the film adaptation is a vast improvement over a poorly written, and in some cases offensive novel, or do you think the novel can stand on its own merits, separate from the film adaptation? Feel free to comment, I won’t hold it against you. :)
No, I see them as two different mediums telling the same story in different methods and that is that. The novel stands on its own. It tells its own story and doesn't care if you're uncomfortable in the places it takes you. It stands on its own. You can like one better than the other, but to discard one over the other or say one is literary offal because it goes to uncomfortable places is kind of a ridiculous notion

manananmaclir
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Re: Must we burn the novel?

Post by manananmaclir » Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:21 pm

danielmann861 wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:48 pm
gattoparde59 wrote:
Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:05 pm

I guess the best way to pose this question is to ask whether we should accept the judgment of the film adaptation: that what we see in the film represents the “fillet” of the novel and the rest should be discarded as literary offal. Do you think the film adaptation is a vast improvement over a poorly written, and in some cases offensive novel, or do you think the novel can stand on its own merits, separate from the film adaptation? Feel free to comment, I won’t hold it against you. :)
No, I see them as two different mediums telling the same story in different methods and that is that. The novel stands on its own. It tells its own story and doesn't care if you're uncomfortable in the places it takes you. It stands on its own. You can like one better than the other, but to discard one over the other or say one is literary offal because it goes to uncomfortable places is kind of a ridiculous notion
Well put. Rather abrupt, but still well put. I should add that I don't agree that the novel was poorly written, nor did I find it offensive. Some parts were more uncomfortable than others, less enjoyable, but not offensive.

danielmann861
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Re: Must we burn the novel?

Post by danielmann861 » Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:28 pm

manananmaclir wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 4:21 pm
danielmann861 wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 2:48 pm
gattoparde59 wrote:
Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:05 pm

I guess the best way to pose this question is to ask whether we should accept the judgment of the film adaptation: that what we see in the film represents the “fillet” of the novel and the rest should be discarded as literary offal. Do you think the film adaptation is a vast improvement over a poorly written, and in some cases offensive novel, or do you think the novel can stand on its own merits, separate from the film adaptation? Feel free to comment, I won’t hold it against you. :)
No, I see them as two different mediums telling the same story in different methods and that is that. The novel stands on its own. It tells its own story and doesn't care if you're uncomfortable in the places it takes you. It stands on its own. You can like one better than the other, but to discard one over the other or say one is literary offal because it goes to uncomfortable places is kind of a ridiculous notion
Well put. Rather abrupt, but still well put. I should add that I don't agree that the novel was poorly written, nor did I find it offensive. Some parts were more uncomfortable than others, less enjoyable, but not offensive.

I don't even mean to be rude. Just yeah, I think they both stand on their own rights. But I come at this from the perspective that I was a fan of the book LONG before the movie even came to be. I was a fan of the book from the time it was first published in Australia. I bought it in October of 2007 and fell in love with it from there before there even was a movie. When I heard there was a film version on the way, I didn't think they could do it justice but was shocked to see how well they did it even with the more pulpy elements removed. The way I look at it is the simple, the core heart is of course Oskar and Eli. All versions of this story retain that core heart but take different routes along the way. The novel is very pulp-horror Stephen King by way of a coming of age story and I love it for that reason. Tomas Alfredson's film is the same core story by the way of Ingmar Bergman drama removing some of the pulp-horror aspects along the way. Matt Reeve's version is somewhere between the pulp-horror tone of the novel and the Ingmar Bergman dramatic take of Tomas Alfredson. Or I would say the American equivalent of Ingmar Bergman but I think Let Me In is a muddled film that is trying to take some of the book while replicating too much of Alfredson's film and never really finds its own way. BUT, it still stands on its own.

Which I guess brings me to my overall point. The novel is its own beast. Alfredson's film is its own beast. And even Reeves film, as flawed as I find it to be, is its own beast. I mean you can like one over the other all you want and even argue the positives of one take over another. But to disregard any of the three just feels foolish to me (gee, maybe I have grown up a little considering I was the fool on IMDB trying to dismiss Let Me In at one point ;) )

I don't know. I think all three stand on their own two feet and should be judged as such. The book is its own beast and I kind of appreciate for it different reasons to the film. I like pulp-horror. I like being taken to uncomfortable places in fiction. I found some of the more demented aspects of the novel fascinating. I may not like Hakan, but hey, by the time Breaking Bad finished, I didn't like Walt either but still found him relentlessly fascinating as a character. Getting in the mind of someone who is reprehensible was still fascinating to me even if I despise what he is. I don't have to like the character to still find him fascinating. I don't know, I just think it's slightly foolish to disregard something because another does it better. Even that is just opinion as opposed to objective fact.

(Jesus christ, Harpospoke on the IMDB boards was right! I was an elitist little bastard at one point and this is what happens when the elitist bastard grows up :D There's a reference I'd be surprised if anyone here would remember. My childish wars with Harpo on the IMDB forums...why do I even remember that?)

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