It's not the direction I'd have gone, but it's quite cinematic and sexy and will probably sell more books than the other, less literal approach I'd have taken. Daughter of Hounds is a hard book to sum up in one image, if only because, for much of the novel, there are two interlinked but somewhat independent narrative threads (Emmie and Soldier). I'm assuming that the woman in the image is meant to be Soldier, even though, in the book, I say she's blonde with shortish hair. Actually, in my mind's eye, Soldier looks a bit like Katie Sackoff in Starbuck mode. And I don't know what's up with the "fuck-me" boots. But. I like the fire and the road and the trees and the clockface back behind it all. It's a cover that manages to capture some part of the flavour of the novel, even if it is, undeniably, a little over the top. There is, indeed, a lot of fire in this book. Oh, and the shotgun's nice. Anyway, please, please preorder Daughter of Hounds. The preorders matter very, very much. I just hope that people who buy it for the bad-ass, gun-totin' babe on the cover aren't disappointed when they discover the book spends half its time on an eight-year-old-girl.
Last night, we watched Terrence Malick's 1998 adaptation of James Jones' novel The Thin Red Line. I saw it once in the threatre, but I've been wanting to see it again since seeing Malick's The New World (2005) a few weeks back. Spooky had never seen it. I was even more taken with The Thin Red Line on this second viewing. I was also struck by the similarities between it and The New World, visually and thematically. I could go on about this film all day long, but I think what impresses me most is Malick's approach to the dissolution of ego and the loss of individuality in war. There's a reason we lose track of any given character, why they seem to come and go and merge one into the other. In the end, there is only a single soldier, neither American nor Japanese, neither quite alive nor quite dead. Also, Malick's insistence on keeping Nature in the foreground, his constant reminder that the petty affairs of man are just that, petty, makes both The Thin Red Line and The New World especially powerful films. As one soldier in TTRL says repeatedly, "We're dirt. We're just dirt." Indeed. Malick doesn't spend all that time on images of the natural world just because he likes the scenery. He's showing us the dispassionate observer, which is also the dispassionate stage, the greater character in these dramas, and thereby gifting the films with a transcendence and tragedy they might never achieve in the hands of a more conventional storyteller. The wars of men come and go, terrible games by which men seek to raise themselves up, and yet all men are only blades of grass in the wind, or dirt, or waves upon the shore. And through it all, horror is perfectly paired with beauty and awe. The Thin Red Line is surely the most important war film since Apocalypse Now.
Later, we watched another episode of Firefly ("Safe"). Thanks again to whoever it was sent me the DVDs for my birthday last year. I am greatly enjoying the series the second time through.
Right. Time to read...