After Dark, My Sweet: Ch. 1 - 6

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After Dark, My Sweet: Ch. 1 - 6

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Set 7, 2006, 11:57 pm

In the Black Lizard reprint of After Dark, My Sweet, this covers a mere 35 pages, but seemed a good place to begin. It's one-quarter of the book.

There's a lot I'd like to say later, but for now suggest the casting tartalom came up with is very good. Marlon Brando as the 'Kid' is hard for me to hear, but Ava Gardner is perfect. MacMurry (who sets my teeth on edge) fits well for Uncle Bud. If Paul Newman didn't gleam with a little too much intelligence, he might be another (slightly later) option for 'Kid' Collins. I'd be interested in how others see and hear them.

Jim Thompson seems very much alive to the prejudices against mental illness, and slightly later, excoriates doctors in a way which (with apologies to any here) I find most satisfactory. Very few transcend his version of them. (Those who do have all my respect.)

As this is my first Jim Thompson novel, I'll say: I'm impressed. He's good. There's a sense of speed to the narrative, even in a self-reflective passage, or evoking a sense of the endless summer morning, or afternoon. Even there, things happen. Like summer lightning, in a nearly clear sky, they threaten. He's psychologically acute, and writing with a wonderfully unreliable narrator, who's judgment's not just poor, but woefully uneven: better AND worse than he's given credit for. Makes things interesting.

I'll try to post more later, but hope others will chime in, meantime. As I say, we can go at this any way you like. I expect to have finished sometime tomorrow...

Set 7, 2006, 11:59 pm

Incidentally, I mean literally 'hear.' 'Collie' as he's so often called has pretensions to more education and intelligence than he's credited with. Certainly more than one saw Brando with in his earlier roles. Just trying to place this 'Kid' correctly.

Set 8, 2006, 10:23 am

The rhythm of Kid Collins voice sees me a little uncomfortable over these early chapters. It is just a little off centre: sort of half a beat behind the narrative on the page. It suits (and maybe helps define) the character, but it makes this reader squirm just a little.

"Casting" Ava Gardner as Fay is inspired, and will favourably prejudice my view of the character going forward. I favour Montgomery Cliff over Brando for Collie and Vincent Price as 'Uncle Bud'.

I can't say that I have enjoyed the first half a dozen chapters. It holds my interest, and I need to see how Jim Thompson resolves the tensions that are developing, but enjoyment is not a word that I could honestly use.

Set 8, 2006, 6:45 pm

It was definitely a book that hooked me and I couldn't stop reading. And I'm still not really sure how to see Collie, sometimes he is very clear minded and understands things and at other times he gets easily confused and can't connect a few simple dots.

Disagree with the casting of Vincent Price - he doesn't fit. I'm picturing someone very crooked who is going bald, wears a bad hat and has a little pot belly.

Question for everyone - where does the title come from?? Most of the time the title fits in with the theme of the book or you will come to a section where they mention it outright. I couldn't find any meaning for this title? Did I just miss it??

Keep an eye on the grass cutting - I think that is a pretty good metaphor for the whole book.

Editado: Set 8, 2006, 7:18 pm

Cogitno, you're perfectly right about his voice. And, frankly, I think Montgomery Clift fairly inspired, as well. I should have let myself consider every actor who might fit the character, not just the description. Clift is perfect. For one thing, he's capable of the frequent shift from acuity to misjudgement that devilbuny mentions. When I've finished, I'll be able to say more: but keep in mind, some mental illness is episodic, or even varies in the course of a day, like anything else. Clift had the same neo-educated tone, and much of what you see in Collie when he's calm(er); yet (perhaps because of the drugs), he generally looked both handsome and a little 'off.' (Etc.)

Fred MacMurry has the false geniality without the smoothness and suavity of Price, and I could readily believe anyone who called him dumb; again, not so with Price. Yet I can see how he would spring to mind. My own casting director seems to be out to lunch.

Even in this first section, I enjoyed the setup of the story, the quality of the writing, the uneasy feel of Thompson's manipulations; but immediately thereafter, it picks up.

Set 8, 2006, 7:22 pm

As yet, it's hard to understand the title, devilbuny; but I haven't read half the book yet. :D

One aside: I find Collie far more sympathetic, and sympathetically created, than I expected.

Set 11, 2006, 12:06 am

I'm interested in commenting on chapters 1-6. Just need a minute to think without 14 interruptions so I can make a sensible statement . . .

Set 11, 2006, 12:54 am

I understand. :) A thread on 7 - 12 is waiting, similiarly, for me. We'll look forward to any comments when you DO have a chance; and meantime, don't worry.

Set 20, 2006, 3:24 pm

OK, I told you I'd be a straggler. This week end I hope to make some comments about chapters 1-6 and see if there is a response. Somehow, this story seems vaguely familiar to me. Very vaguely. I can't shake the feeling I've seen, read, or heard it before. I have no idea where. Maybe I've talked myself into it at this point . . .

Set 20, 2006, 8:30 pm

Or maybe you saw the movie? Or part of it?

Yet it's a not entirely unfamiliar plot. I've been meaning to make more comments, myself, and got a little derailed. I'll open up a couple of other threads, unless someone gets to it before I do!

Out 8, 2006, 5:24 pm

have we given up on this? My memories of the book are fading...fading...f

Out 8, 2006, 10:45 pm

So sorry, tartalom! I wasn't feeling well, and it seemed to be losing steam. However, I did finish the book, and would love to talk about it now; presumably as a whole, as I can't imagine anyone who wants to hasn't read it yet.

Out 8, 2006, 11:53 pm

I feel stoopid ..... I paused at chapter 8; and went on a Tagging and Non Fiction binge. The former is equivalent to measuring a piece of string! Not recommended for anyone with even mildly obsessive tendencies.

Eurydice, I hope you are feeling well enough to lead us in a discussion.

Out 8, 2006, 11:58 pm

Cogitno, why do you think I feel so reluctant to go back and fix my tagging mistakes? 'Mildly obsessive'? You mean me? Surely not! ;)

On a discussion: I can try. Why don't we revert to the original thread for the book, and take it up as a whole? (If you've finished?)

Out 9, 2006, 12:24 am

No, I meant me when I posted, Eurydice! ............................ Hmmm, Eclectic. ;)

Will have finished by the time the Northern Hemisphere is awake.

Out 9, 2006, 3:32 am

Cogitno, I was teasing, and I AM mildly obsessive! :) Not to worry.

Working on a post for this on the other thread...

Out 10, 2006, 1:35 am

I've been unusally busy and so didn't chime in. A kick start might be in order.

Out 10, 2006, 2:16 am

I've made a long post on the original thread - After Dark, My Sweet - to start us off. Look forward to seeing comments there!

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