mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Either there are two books with a protagonist who mainlines The Seven Samurai as background to their life, or I'm hallucinating. Because the one I remember browsing years ago was about a teenaged boy in America, not a single Mum in England. Alas, the one I have is the single Mum one, and it's beginning to get up my nose, in spite of having a narrator who reacts to Kurosawa rather the way I did when *I* was twenty-five.

The author and the protagonist were both born in America but find themselves living in England and, umm, falling into English novel character types. Well, the protagonist does anyway. Can't say about the author. Nor can I exactly pin down the exact character type it is, though I know I've met it before. It's not 'charmingly batty' because Charmingly Batty (Female, by default) is an observed character in the English novels I've read, not the narrator. It's more the socially challenged, awkward and reflex-abrasive female that I feel we're expected to admire because her inability to get along with anybody (an inability she herself is usually unaware of) is a mark of transcendant spiritual honesty or something.

I mean, I suppose this female English character is merely the counterpart of the stock American male figure, the one who's reflex-abrasive and outspoken and offensive because he's, yanno, a wonderful independent rugged American male and common civility is beneath such alpha types. I don't like either of them. I like my characters civil. Vimes sometimes irks me because he gets too close to rude incivility and I *know* I'm supposed to like him. And if we're in Pratchett, I suppose Adora Belle is an example of the female type, except there's a rationale for her behaviour *and* she knows what it is. I'll still take Sibyl any day of the week over her.

(For that matter I don't like Moist either. I like competence, not supernally lucky and winging it by seat of the pants charm and gall. I hope he has the fall he's riding towards as I rather hope the snot William de Worde does too. Really, half of Pratchett's heroes suggest to me that Vetinari is absolutely correct- 'There are, always and only, the bad people, but some of them are on opposite sides.')

The trouble is that I'd like to like the heroine of The Last Samurai, if only because she's as besotted with languages as I am, and a lot better at them. I never got past deciphering ancient Greek, much less reading Aristotle for pleasure on the subway. But she's coming across, and in her own narrated novel, as a self-absorbed twit of major proportions, and I resent her liking my favourite film of all time as much as she does. Get out of my archetypal obsession, you're making my archetypal obsession look stupid.
Tags: 7samurai, film, japan, pratchett, reading_08

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