I'm feeling at loose ends lately. Partially this is just the time of year (I'm tired of the cold weather and am feeling antsy and cranky, and am having a hard time concentrating...), and partially due to my reading and movie viewing this past weekend. First my reading. I couldn't take looking at my little pile of Persephones anymore without reading one. I decided the slim copy of Marghanita Laski's The Victorian Chaise-longue would do nicely for a weekend read. It is more of a novella than a novel with less than 100 pages and can be read in just one sitting. The above postcard came with the book. It is "Fife Terrace, Islington, the setting for The Victorian Chase-longue (1953), reissued by Persephone Books, 1999. Especially commissioned painting by David Gentleman for Persephone Books." It is a suitably creepy book, but I am not sure I would call it a horror story. Slim though it may be, there is still lots to think about. Melanie, a new mother, must keep to her bed after the birth of her first child, as she has been diagnosed with TB. When she is finally well enough to undertake a change of scenery (she hasn't even been able to hold her baby yet), she is moved to a window overlooking a canal. An ugly old chaise-longue is her new refuge, but it will be anything but that when she falls asleep and wakes in another body in another time (1864). Or is it her body? At first she thinks it is just a dream, but really the creepy part (and maybe it does verge on horror) is when she comes to the realization that she is stuck. Stuck in another time and in another person's life. I wanted more. More answers. I know authors do this on purpose, to make you mull it all over and make your own decision, but sometimes don't you just want to know for sure? I think I need to reread this and look at the clues again.
Authors are not the only ones to do this. Filmakers do too. I am certain they like this. They want you to rehash it over and over in your mind. Very pesky of them. As for the movie, I really had little idea about what The Big Blue was about, but it ended up in my Netflix queue. Maybe you already know about this film? It seems to have had quite a following in the 80s, but it was new to me. Apparently there are at least two versions--an American theatrical release version, and the Director's Cut version, which is the more readily available of the two these days. It was a long movie (the Director's Cut)--nearly three hours in length. I'm not sure how to even explain it, so let me borrow the description:
"Luc Besson's The Big Blue has endured as a minor cult classic for its gorgeous photography (both on land and underwater) and dreamy ambiance. Jean-Marc Barr is a sweet and sensitive but passive presence as Jacques, a diver with a unique connection to the sea. He has the astounding ability to slow his heartbeat and his circulation on deep dives, "a phenomenon that's only been observed in whales and dolphins… until now," remarks one scientist. Kooky New York insurance adjuster Joanna (Rosanna Arquette at her most delightfully flustered and endearingly sexy best) melts after falling into his innocent baby blues, and she follows him to Italy, where he's continuing a lifelong competition with boyhood rival Enzo (Jean Reno in a performance both comic and touching)."
I'm not going to tell you how it ends, as I don't want to spoil the story in case you want to see it. But it is a completely ambiguous ending. You could read it as happy or sad, which can be somewhat annoying when you just want to know how things turn out. I have heard that the American version was cut down a bit and has a slightly different, less ambiguous ending (for those of us who like things tidy?), so I am trying to figure out how to get my hands on a copy. I know life doesn't always give you neat (happy) endings, but that doesn't mean I can't want them anyway.