Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Two Recommendations: FREEDOMLAND and FORBIDDEN GAMES


So, in what is, I assure you, pure coincidence (considering our recent discussions), I've just finished reading Richard Price's novel Freedomland -- a book about, among other things, racial tensions centered around a housing project which abuts a more affluent, white community. This conflict is touched off when a white woman claims her car, with her four-year-old child still in the back seat, was stolen by a black man. The book chronicles the detective work on the case, the extreme pressures exerted both on and by the black community, and the tightrope a black detective must walk as he balances the need to save a child with the righteous outrage of a people who know an abducted black child would not have elicited the same massive police response.

Of note, considering my earlier post: Richard Price is a white author, who dives into the challenge of writing from a black perspective without the slightest hesitation, and with resounding success. (This is nothing new for him, as a quick perusal of his other books will indicate: among them, Clockers and The Samaritan.)

It's an incredible book; the felicitous characterization of Brenda Martin, the mother of the lost child, which is sustained over 500 pages, is nothing short of a marvel. Not to mention, Price has the sharpest ear for dialogue I've encountered from any writer.

Apparently there's a movie coming out. I don't know much about it, but I highly recommend you read the book first.

Another recommendation for you: a French film, circa 1952, by Rene Clement called Forbidden Games. It's about a little girl whose parents are killed during an airstrike while fleeing Paris. She is taken in by a rural family, and befriends their youngest son. The two of them become obsessed with the trappings of death and mourning, and take to stealing crucifixes and constructing their own little cemetery in a nearby barn. Heartbreaking; the girl is nothing short of remarkable. The last scene literally had me crying.

1 Comments:

At 12:59 AM, Blogger Gone said...

I LOVE Richard Price's work. (I've also seen a preview screening of the movie!) He writes for some of David Simon's crime shows on HBO as well. More about this book I will not say because I don't want to do spoilers. But I wonder if I Figured It Out before you did? Drop a note.

 

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