Amazon gift voucher
When I was given a gift voucher for my birthday and told I had to spend it on books, there was little problem choosing what I would go for. Unlike most people, I have no issue with TV or Film adaptations of novels. Although I would probably prefer to read the book first, if I see the film and then get around to the book, I don't feel the same outrage or bile about it either way. I had just finished watching all ten of the MGM studio production of The Handmaid's Tale, starring Elizabeth Moss, and was ready to see what the original ideas were on paper.
My kindle copy started with a foreword from Atwood herself after the series had aired, and while I found it really interesting to hear her musings on her own work and the adaptation, and although I had already seen the show, there were a number of spoilers in it! Anyway, I read swiftly on and was quickly immersed in the story.
It is gripping and overwhelming which is why I have put it on a list of books I would read again. I feel like I was washed with horror of the society and I need to steel myself and read it again soon with a closer reading. No wonder it is studied in schools.
Picador 2016 Kindle
Amazon gift voucher
A vast improvement on The Miniaturist but gaining less traction than her first book, The Muse explores the history of a mysterious painting. With two timelines running alongside each other, when the painting was made in 30s Spain and the discovery in the present day 60s London the fate of the painting and its artist is slowly revealed. The best thing about The Miniaturist is that it was a well written page turner of a book and The Muse has the same quality.
Where The Miniaturist fell down was two many story lines, too many plot twists, and a hint of magical realism that ended up not being magical at all, which was very disappointing. The Muse felt a little stunted in terms of imagination in this respect, while the Miniaturist felt like an incredible story that in the end got wound up too simply, The Muse was stripped down and in the end too quite a predictable turn although there was one twist in the tale.
Although the marketing doesn't really reflect this, I think The Muse is the more readable text but it lacks the flair and imagination that The Miniaturist had. Burton could explore the wilder side of her story lines but tie them up as neatly as The Muse.