Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Top Banana In the Shock Department. Human Factor.

I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighbourhoods. For instance, there is a brownstone in the East Seventies where, during the early years of the war, I had my first New York apartment. It was one room crowded with attic furniture, a sofa and fat chairs upholstered in that itchy, particular red velvet that one associates with hot days on a train...

No, that is not me, IStori writing, that's Truman Capote:

"It never occurred to me in those days to write about Holly Golightly, and probably it would not now except for a conversation I had with Joe Bell that set the whole memory of her in motion again."

There are some books and writers I never get tired of, and Capote is one of them, Breakfast at Tiffany's being one the best short story collections I know. My other favourite authors I keep reading again and again are Boris Pasternak, the Brontë sisters; the Scotts Ian Rankin and Denise Mina, and... But let me tell you about music:

I am listening to the newest CD (I am still happily old-fashioned CD listener, from stone age) of Kate Bush. "Aerial", it is called. Aaahhh... Kate has written all the lyrics. In the first piece she sings

"Why does a multi-millionaire
Fill up his home with priceless junk?

The wind is whistling
Through the house

Elvis are you out there somewhere
Looking like a happy man?
In the snow with Rosebud
And the king of the mountain"

The first time I heard this piece, I fell in love with this double CD as a whole. But I have always loved the sound of Kate Bush music.

Sorry, Henry Mancini, Kate Bush has beaten you, this time. Her very second-millenniumish voice fits well into the backgroud of Holly Golightly, "top banana in the shock department", drinking cocktails at Joe Bell's, making phone calls as "during the war a private telephone was hard to come by", and later Joe taking messages, "which, in Holly's case, was no small favor, for she had a tremendous many."


Other two favourite writers of mine: Graham Greene and Len Deighton. Probably because I am a great fan of spy stories. Greene is so good.

Now I am reading Human Factor, story about a dull but sympathetic Maurice Castle working for the Secret Service. "He was always prepared to account for his actions, even the most innocent, and he was always strictly on time."

Castle and his loving African wife, happily married, live far from Central London. But suddenly there is a leak at the department...

This story swallows the reader right from the start. You can't resist, you are sucked deeply into the plot.

Len Deighton has written a number of good novels, but I still prefer his three Samson trilogies; nine books all together, just in case you can't count.

But it was not until I started reading Human Factor again when I realised he, Deighton, actually owes a lot to Greene. Deighton must be a great fan of Greene's (well aren't we all?), they have so many good things in common: the dry, sarcastic humour; clever dialogue; well-described characters -- the main players are the kind of people you feel you know, but at the same time, you would like to know MORE about them; perfectly good story telling skills -- and many more.


One day, when I finish my novel, I will owe Deighton huge debt...


The photo below: Casino Royale on New Year's Day. Miss Funnybunny loves poker, Texas Hold'em, of course.

And boy, she is good.

Later she can support her mummy with that fat bank account of hers.


In Finnish only, be envious: Hauskaa! Jos tarvitsette oheisia palveluita, käykää katsomassa yhteystiedot Kaisaniemen metroaseman K-marketin seinältä:

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