7 books to read before seeing upcoming film adaptations


Fall movie season is upon us, which in general terms means big budget blockbusters are giving way to high-spirited award hopes, and as is usually the case, many of these prestigious projects are based on a novel of the same name. It’s not always true that the book is better than the movie, and some viewers prefer not to spoil the story beforehand. However, this year’s crop of literary adaptations comes from sources – some well-known and others virtually unknown – that are worth checking out.

The power of the dog

This western by Thomas Savage sold few copies when it was released in 1967, but Annie Proulx (author of brokeback mountain) discovered it and sang its praises in a new one afterwards. The plot is quite modest: two brothers – one kind, one step – run a ranch in the American West in the early 1920s. The troubled brother, Phil, makes life difficult for the good-natured George when he brings home a local widow and her son after their quick marriage. But its aesthetics and themes are vast.

The power of the dog tackles a wide range of topics with a surprisingly modern lens. He ruminates on class, toxic masculinity, American Indian displacement, water rights, mental illness, and even the tension between academia and anti-intellectualism. The film version, adapted and directed by Jane Campion and starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst, is currently the favorite for Best Picture. It hits Netflix on November 17.

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Timothée Chalamet as Paul in Dune

contrary to The power of the dog, Frank Herbert Dune, first published in 1965, has the distinction of being the best-selling science fiction book of all time. The novel, which is notoriously dense and difficult to put on screen, tells the expansive story of a distant and dark future in which life is dictated by a galactic feudal system. Although the number of characters is comparable to the Lord of the Rings Where Game Of Thrones, much of the action centers around the Atreides family, who have been entrusted with a desolate planet that is nonetheless valuable due to the drugs that can only be found and processed there. Dune uses its premise to explore secular themes of religion and politics, as well as more recent themes like environmental management and gender identity. The adaptation of Denis Villeneuve, presented in preview on October 22, covers the first half of this epic.

Alley of nightmares

This pulpy yet literary 1946 novel by William Lindsay Gresham delves deep into the world of seedy carnival life. Alley of nightmares is not for the faint of heart, but many consider it a dark masterpiece. He follows Stanton Carlisle as he weaves his way through the bottom ranks of the “geek shows” and acts of magic that were popular in early 20th century New York City. Each chapter is marked with a tarot card, and the narrative uses motifs from show business, spiritualism, and the supernatural to make some pretty damning statements about mankind’s worst impulses. It’s already been made into a movie once, back in 1947, but Guillermo del Toro – who seems to be perfectly suited to the dark, atmospheric material – will debut in his version, starring Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchet, on December 17.

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The lost girl

The lost girl may be slim in terms of the number of pages, but not in terms of the impact of its story. Leda, the protagonist of the novel, is a somewhat apathetic mother and renowned teacher, divorced from her husband, on a beach vacation in Greece. When she meets another woman and her daughter, a secret is revealed, as do waves of emotion. The lost girl may look like an enlightened chick, but despite its brevity and refreshing setting, this is an uplifting and empowering psychological portrayal of modern, energized femininity and motherhood. Adding to the drama, the true identity of its author Elena Ferrante is still a secret. Maggie Gyllenhaal wrote and directed the film adaptation starring Olivia Coleman, Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard and Ed Harris. It comes out on December 17th.

The last duel

Matt Damon in The Duel

The subtitle of this piece of narrative non-fiction is A true story of the trial by combat in medieval France. This story may be several hundred years old, but the book, by Eric Jager, was published in 2006. The last duel is neither too long nor dry as stories can be. In fact, it’s so salacious that news of a Ridley Scott film adaptation has sparked skepticism and controversy, mainly because the plot revolves around a possible charge of raping a woman. When the wife of a knight, Jean de Carrouges, claims a squire, Jacque le Gris, having attacked her, a dead-end royal court opts for a duel to the death to determine the culprit. If the squire wins, the court will see it as a sign from God that the woman was lying, and she too will be killed. The film, titled by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver, is slated for a limited release on December 25.

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The Gucci house

The Gucci house is the second non-fiction work with an outrageous subtitle (A sensational story of murder, madness, glamor and greed), adapted in a film with Adam Driver this year. People probably know the famous fashion family of their clothing brand, but they may not know the real crime story behind the luxury brand. When Maurizio Gucci is found dead, his ex-wife Patrizia is suspected of being the killer. If she did, she certainly had several designs to choose from, as Gucci sucked with money and women. Lady Gaga and Jared Leto also star in the high-profile film, titled Gucci House, which hits theaters on November 24.

Macbeth’s tragedy

It is one of the bard’s most famous plays and a play that has been staged on stage and on screen time and time again. But Joel Coen, Denzel Washington, and Frances McDormand will be bringing their renditions to theaters and Apple TV + later this year. For those who have never read The Scottish Play alone or who have avoided Shakespeare’s work because of its language and length, the 1606 text is actually one of the shortest and easiest to digest. of the many works of the playwright. Despite, Macbeth is as loaded with palace intrigue, romance, fantasy and murder as any contemporary story could ever hope to be. When a trio of witches predict the rise to power of a Scottish general, the prophecy consumes Macbeth and his wife, and while that prediction eventually comes true, things don’t go exactly as planned. Macbeth was well ahead of its time, and its edifying tale of pride and the thin line between good and evil still resonates today.

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