Sunday 14 November 2021

The shortest book I've read this year - a very slim novel indeed, I started it in bed last night and finished it this morning - but quite the most compelling. Published in 1938,it's a series of letters between a Jewish art dealer in San Francisco and his cultivated, liberal German friend - who very quickly becomes a Nazi - and the disintegration of their friendship. The postscript by the author's son describes how the story was inspired by real events. The twist at the end of the book is simply breathtaking. It was a best-seller in America and England, a prescient indictment of Nazism - and then largely forgotten after the war. There was a film in 1944 which I see is on YouTube. You know when sometimes you want to jump up and down, and press a book on all your friends and say, 'You simply must read this...'

Wednesday 3 November 2021

Just what we need ... Silent Night: a movie full of cheer for the second Christmas of the pandemic. Spoiler alert ... Think Nevil Shute's On the Beach - the Yuletide version, with Keira Knightley and designer frocks. The planet is doomed, poison gas will be here before Santa, the water is a funny colour so there's nothing to drink but Fanta or prosecco - and do you fancy a sprout with your government-issued cyanide tablet? Would you really forget to cook enough roasties for your last meal on earth? Surfacing into a gloomy, grey afternoon - yes, I felt quite depressed. Might need to watch It's a Wonderful Life, or even Love, Actually to take the taste away. Luckily I'm off to a concert tonight at the Festival Hall. Though it was depressing, the film did keep me amused and gripped ... which is more than I can say for The French Dispatch last week when I confess I slumbered through most of it.