Rory's Booklist?

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Re: Rory's Booklist?

Postby SUBY1974 » 08 Feb 2014, 21:43

Here is a picture of my lunch in Camden, Cafe Nero Cafe UK. They have a lovely bookshelf there so its wonderful to sit down, have my lunch ( in this case vege panini, apple juice, bottle of water and, my Kindle and the book. You can see clearly Strangers On A Train. I have seen the film Strangers On The Train by Alfred Hitchcock (1951) and almost 3/4 of the way through the book and will see the play at Gielgud Theatre end of this month. Only after that will I give my review of the book, play and film. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Click on image to make it larger. x
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Re: Rory's Booklist?

Postby Tibbierocks » 08 Feb 2014, 21:55

Thank you so much for posting the books in full! that's excellent. I've never read crime fiction before but I read the talented Mr Ripley a couple of weeks back and just finished Ripley Underground today. Interesting to see Rory read Camus - then again haven't most of us book worms? I'll be checking out some of these titles through out the year. I've got a lot of books to get thru as Bowie's 100 fave books came out last year, so I'm picking titles off that as well. I couldn't get into Nightwood by Djuna Barnes.

As for that lovely poster of the books and the guitar, I think it will look great in my living room by my book cases.
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Re: Rory's Booklist?

Postby Tom Jonas » 08 Feb 2014, 22:09

SUBY1974!
Are they still playing The 39 steps at the Criterion Theatre?
A wonderful performance of a classical film
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Re: Rory's Booklist?

Postby SUBY1974 » 08 Feb 2014, 22:28

I have seen advertised. I don't know. I will have a look. I love plays and have ideas for one. My favourite will always be The Caretaker by Harold Pinter. We studied that at A'level English in the early 90s. Subrata. x
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Re: Rory's Booklist?

Postby SUBY1974 » 31 Mar 2014, 20:57

I am writing my review of Strangers On A Train but its taking time. Will get it finished soon. Subrata. x
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Re: Rory's Booklist?

Postby SUBY1974 » 26 May 2014, 19:51

My review on Strangers On A Train by Patricia Highsmith. Subrata. x



STRANGERS ON A TRAIN by Patricia Highsmith


I don’t want this review of Strangers On A Train to turn into a detailed lengthy discussion of the book which may sound boring and long but I just want to touch on a few points. First of all if you don’t know who Patricia Highsmith is or if you don’t know the story of Strangers On A Train please see the author biography and summary of the plotline for the book in the following links:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Highsmith

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0044079/plotsummary


I have read the book, seen the film and play of this extraordinary crime thriller book and I was hooked right from the start. Its incredible to think that one can meet a complete stranger on a train as the way Guy Haines, an architect and Charles Bruno ( a spoilt rich man’s son) met and the events that would unfold after the two of them have this conversation about murdering Charles Bruno’s father Sam Haines and Guy Haines estranged wife Miriam Haines. Just to emphasize it was Charles Bruno’s idea of murdering the people in their lives and Guy Haines just thought he was bluffing. Guy Haines never really believed that Charles Bruno would be so serious and actually kill his estranged wife Miriam Haines.

The book and the play show Charles Bruno and Guy Haines meeting on the off chance but the film by Alfred Hitchcock did disappoint me. Here Guys Haines is portrayed as a famous tennis star, a celebrity of his day and of course every one knows him. Charles Bruno knows all about him, because he has read about Guy in the papers, so in the film when they meet they are not really complete strangers are they? To Guy, Bruno is a stranger but not to Charles Bruno who knows absolutely everything about Guy. I have to say in the film Farley Granger and Robert Walker plays Guy Haines and Charles Bruno very well and the same goes for the actors in the play. They are very convincing performances and capture the characters to a T. It’s a shame that Robert Walker died in 1951after filming Hitchcock’s film as he was a good actor.


One of the best scenes in the film is when Robert Walker demonstrates to an elderly lady at a party hosted by Guy and Anne, that anyone can kill and then does a mock strangulation on her. He then sees Anne’s sister who looks a bit like Miriam and goes into a trance and then ends up almost killing the elderly lady in panic.





As the story unfolds I am completely gripped and Patricia Highsmith is an incredible writer. We really do feel and breathe what the characters are going through and their incredible psychology. Guy Haines and Charles Bruno are opposites of each other and the theme of duality and opposites run through the novel. In fact if you read p163 Guy Haines does talk about good and evil, love and hate, matter and energy. Without the other the other one cannot is exist.

Guys Haines is a decent man, happily engaged to the love of his life Anne Faulkner a rich importers daughter ( in the film she is Anne Morton a senator daughter), he is an architect and leads a decent life.

On the other hand Charles Abraham Bruno is a spoilt rich man’s son, a “mummy’s boy”, a womanizer, gambler and a drunk. He has no aim in life apart from doing other things that normal people have not even thought off, like burgling a home, setting a land speed record blindfolded and of course fantasizing a “perfect motiveless murder”.

I do agree with the novel Guy Haines and Charles Bruno have some kind of weird “brotherhood”, a bond that only they can understand. Guy Haines wants to be like Charles Bruno and Charles Bruno wants to be like Guy Haines. They are each drawn to each other because of what they perceive they lack in each other and together they make up that shortfall by committing murder.

They both have their reasons for wanting Miriam Haines and Sam Bruno to die in order to make their lives easier.

It is really creepy how Charles Bruno stalks Guy Haines, first by calling him, then following him around and then sending him endless letters of how to kill his father and basically emotionally blackmailing him. In the film Guy is traveling around New York and there is guy watching him with his hat on in the shadows and how he follows Guy and Anne to a gallery. It is beyond eerie.













Patricia Highsmith is very good at digging into the psychology of the characters. She peels it back bit by bit and its how these murderers think. When both commit the murders it haunts both of them. Guy Haines may not have been caught at this stage for killing Sam Bruno but he has already been given a life sentence. He tries to convince himself that he did the deed for him and his fiancée Anne but also on many occasions he felt that it would be a “sin” to marry Anne after what he did. He can’t sleep at night and has nightmares and keeps cleaning his room. He takes on the hospital project in a way to heal himself because hospitals are a place of healing. For a long time he keeps his gun as evidence of the murder and there is a lot about his fascination of the gun like its some sort of friend. In the end Guy acknowledges that it will be his fate to be caught for the murder somehow and in fact I feel he is relieved when he is caught because as Gerard the detective rightly observes the guilt the Guy felt was overpowering him day by day. His only solace at the time was his work and Anne which stopped him going over the edge.


Charles Bruno feels he has done a great service to Guy Haines and freed him from a smutty estranged wife like Miriam Haines. He is obsessed with Guy and to me seems to be “in love” with him. He feels he wants to be congratulated or even praised for killing Miriam. For Charles taking a life denotes some kind of twisted power. In the book he thinks that everyone wants to defend life and that a beginning of a life is a miracle but he, Charles Bruno had the power to take a life of a woman he considered to be be “evil” and for that he wants recognition and an award.

In Charles Bruno’s life his mother is the perfect woman and in Imogen Stubbs plays her perfectly. In the play Imogen Stubbs finds no flaw in Charles Bruno her son but then abandons him when he is found out for murder by Gerard. In fact I love Imogen Stubb acting the most as she is a real talent. Charles Bruno’s mum is a flirt but never takes any of her men friends as lovers. The other perfect woman in Charles Bruno’s eyes is Anne Faulkner and he really likes her. For women like Miriam Haines they are “women who draws men like flies are drawn to garbage” and in Charles mind they don’t deserve to live. My question is what gives the right for Charles to judge anyone in life? He is certainly not a man of morals himself.

Gerard the private detective of Charles Bruno’s father Sam Bruno is a very determined character of a man. In the play he does comes across very determined and he knows Charles Bruno was somehow involved in his father’s murder. Bit by bit like he pecks away at both Charles Bruno and Guy Haines tough exterior to find out the truth with evidence and scenarios that did leave Charles Bruno with a terrible panic attack. As he told Bruno he personally wants to find Sam Bruno’s killer.

The lies the characters tell in the book is sickening and in real life I cannot stand lies or untruths. Each character lies and the tissues of lies build up and in one scene both Guy Haines and Charles Bruno are in Gerard’s office and its so blatant they are lying about when they met on the train ,what they talked etc . You can feel in it in Gerard words that even he is sick of the tales they are telling. In fact telling lies become almost second nature to these two men.


I find Guys Haines a pretty weak character. Sure he is a nice man, a wonderful husband and architect but the man cannot stand up for himself. He should have divorced Miriam right from the beginning, he should have stood up to Charles Bruno and told the police the truth and he should have told his second wife Anne the truth. She too could see through the lies he was saying as well. He has no backbone.

Charles Bruno I felt needed to have some aim and discipline in life or even better have some sort of psychotherapy. The man is completely and utterly insane but on the other hand a very fascinating and interesting character. You can hardly call him boring.

In the play when Guy Haines shoots Sam Bruno the sound of the gun shot was very realistic and characters were very convincing. I also felt the costumes and sets were amazing from the 50s time period. Women do not dress like that anymore with timeless glamour. I love Miranda Raison who played Anne Faulkner and she was dressed very chicly and was totally opposite from Miriam who not only acted like a floozy but was dressed like one as well. The stage set was made to accommodate all the scenes and it revolved around in the middle of the stage for each scene. We had the train scene, Guy Haines flat, Charles Bruno’s home, Gerard’s office etc. The stage, props, lights and sceneries were well used to create the atmosphere and setting. They were also authentic to the 1950s period.


The ending of Strangers On A Train in the book, film and play were completely different. In the book Charles Bruno drowns himself while out sailing with Guy, Anne and their friends. Afterward Guy Haines confesses to Owen Markham ( Miriam’s lover and father of her unborn child) about the killing and Gerard overhears on the phone and takes Guy into custody. In the play Charles Bruno shoots himself. Guy Haines and Charles Bruno are in Guys office and then Guy sets fire to his office and the pair both perish in the flames. In the film, the ending is a bit strange as Charles Bruno tries to pin the murder of Miriam on Guy by using Guy’s lighter but is killed on a revolving merry go around ( watch the film you will see what I mean!) and Guy goes free.

Before I end this review I just want to mention too more points. Even after Guy kills Sam Bruno, Charles Bruno could not stay away from Guy. By now he is absolutely fascinated by Guys relationship with Anne and wants it just to be the three of them. In the book Charles does contemplate killing Anne so that it would be just him and Guy but in the end he likes Anne. He just wants to be a part of their life and understand the love and life they share. Charles has been deprived of a normal life as a child. In the play Anne finds she is pregnant and Charles deliberately walks in a field where sheep have a contagious disease. He then passes on the infection to Anne by visiting her home and Anne loses the baby. Charles is extraordinarily manipulative and the way he invites himself to come to Guys and Anne wedding and mix socially with their friends shows just how bold he is. He convinces everyone and the reader that he and Guy are “old chums”.

The last thing I wanted to say is that if you watch the film by Alfred Hitchcock you will find the high speed merry go around scene at the funfair both terrifying and pretty fast at the end of the film. It is safe to say I have never been on a merry go around like that before and can they go that fast? Is there any safety regulations?

This is fantastic novel and I can well understand why Rory may have liked Patricia Highsmith books. I believe Rory loved books with an edge and mystery.

I will now read the Ripley books and I will give a review of each as I read them. I have to thank Rory for introducing me to a whole new genre of books under the crime thriller category. Oh how I would have loved to discuss the books with him. Rock On For Rory. Subrata. x


I love the reference to Plato who talks about the afterlife. Last year I went to see Dr Raymond Moody at a seminar in South London. He is a famous scientist and has done research work on the afterlife and he mentioned the Platos work called Republic and how Plato discusses the afterlife at a meeting. It was interesting to see in the novel and I am reading Republic at the moment. Interesting synchronicity in my opinion.


The other interesting synchronicity is while reading the book and seeing the film the play happened to be running in London at the Gielgud Theatre in Feb 2014 so that was good timing as well.
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Re: Rory's Booklist?

Postby SUBY1974 » 05 Mar 2016, 18:06

I am still reading some of the books Rory read. So I will give a review soon on some of them and of course the Taste CD Box set. I am reading so many books at the moment, but will get there in the end. Is there an end to book reading?? LOL. Subrata. X
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Re: Rory's Booklist?

Postby ailish78 » 06 Mar 2016, 00:08

I was in the bookstore a couple of weeks ago and saw a collection of Dashiel Hammet stories. I picked it up and thought about buying it because I know that was Rory's favourite. I didn't buy it because I thought I was being silly just buying a book because Rory read it. What if I didn't like it?? Oh well, I might just go back for it anyway.

I think the book club is a great idea. I'm an avid reader and I'm interested in all the other things Rory read.
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Re: Rory's Booklist?

Postby CiaSeattle » 06 Mar 2016, 16:45

You should check at your local library and see if any of the books are available there. If it's not to your liking, then you haven't spent the money and you can just return it. :-)
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Re: Rory's Booklist?

Postby ailish78 » 07 Mar 2016, 17:04

Yes that's true, but they won't be in the library here. I'm in Luxembourg. I very much doubt it anyway. In any case, I don't mind spending 20 Euros on a book. I could always donate it to a friend if I don't like it. I saw that particular Dashiel Hammet book in the English section of a well-known bookstore in Trier in Germany. I think it was just a one-off. I'll need to go back to check if it is still there. I very rarely read crime novels and if I do I prefer to read them in German or French. I have a massive book collection myself that I'm struggling to get through, but I would really like to read the things Rory enjoyed.
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