I didn’t have any expectations when I opened The Shapeless Unease: A Year of Not Sleeping, by Samantha Harvey. I had not previously read any of her novels. I simply heard Harvey talking about the book on a podcast (available here if you’re interested) and decided that I would give it a go. The book, described by the London Review as a ‘philosophical memoir’, revolves around the author’s struggle with insomnia, which began suddenly and lasted over a year. It is about many other things – a ‘startingly insightful exploration of memory, writing and influence, death and grief, and the will to survive’, according to the book jacket – but insomnia is the central motif.Continue reading “Book Review: The Shapeless Unease”
As far as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in film adaptations of books. I will walk into a cinema (or, more recently, open a streaming platform) full of expectation, convinced – although the evidence suggests otherwise – that the film will somehow reflect exactly my own understanding of the book. Maybe it will even transcend it.
I have, on occasion, been proven right (Joe Wright’s adaptation of Atonement is an all-time favourite, and don’t get me started on the BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice) but more often than not, I am disappointed. I have a vivid memory of sitting in the theatre for the first Harry Potter film, having made the mistake of re-reading the book a short time before; I was in a perfect position to notice every difference, every detail that had been changed, every funny line of dialogue the writers had decided, for some incomprehensible reason, not to include. Why? I wondered disconsolately as we left the cinema. Why would they do this?Continue reading “From Book to Film: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”