Monday, February 6, 2017

A Most Brief Note On Herman Wouk's The Lawgiver


Herman Wouk: The Lawgiver

No spoilers. 


I just finished for something lighter The Lawgiver by Herman (Marjorie Morningstar, The Caine Mutiny) Wouk. Most impressive is that he wrote it when he was  97. (I should love so long, never mind write a book then.) It's about bringing a movie about Moses to life. 

So it's a good story for about 80% of it with a number of plot threads going on that all come together. It touches not uninterestingly on any number of themes, long good marriages, Hollywood hustle, screen writing, the ins and outs of movie financing, producing, casting, falling away from Orthodox Judaism and the sensibility of the fallen away. 

One particular tension struck me: updated versus outdated: the form is updated quasi epistolary, the whole story conveyed with texts, faxes, emails, letters, phone calls, file memos, transcribed conference calls and so on; but the language is virtually archaic. For just one telling example, "boffo box office" is meant as current show biz talk. No one talks the way people in the novel do; no one swears; everything is stiff and formal even when Wouk goes for relaxed and informal. For me, it's what I put up with to see how an interesting story with diverse plot lines worked out.  

On the 80% thing, about then is when, at least for me, all the major conflicts and dramatic issues had been resolved with the last 20% being pretty flaccid as story lines go. 
I'm still working my slow, sad way through the thick fog of gloom of Dostoyevsky's Poor Folk.)

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