Monday, 9 April 2012

78/111 - Drive by James Sallis

I bought this book quite recently on an impulse because I saw the film last year and had enjoyed it a lot. The book is also good, although quite different from the film, and there are obviously some parts that they've altered to make the film seem more 'whole' I guess.

I really liked the narration in this, it's sort of told from the first person, but in a detached kind of way. I forget the actual term for it. Driver is the main character, and like in the film, we never find out his name. There is also a lot more insight into his background and his character in the novel - we find out that his mother murders his father, and that he comes to LA penniless and moves from place to place while doing stunt work and getaway driving on the side. In the film we don't get any of this background info, which I didn't mind at all when watching it.

One of the most striking things about the film (and also about the book, to a lesser extent) is how little dialogue there is in it. Driver barely speaks at all in the film, although he's a little more chatty in the book. Another surprising point about the film is that there is almost no driving in it. There are only a couple of scenes where the driving is the pivotal point, and whilst it features a little more heavily in the book, it's still not as prominent as the title might lead you to believe. In fact, someone in the US actually tried to sue the studio for misleading her because she assumed that the film would be something closer to Fast and Furious.

Where the film also puts more emphasis on the relationship between the driver and Irene, which I liked, not because it was romantic, but because it was unusual. In the book, he still has strong links with them however it's more as though it's mentioned in passing. Another big difference is that in the novel, Irene is shot and killed, and Benicio is taken to live with his grandparents, which was a little sad.

In all, I'd say that I preferred the film over the book, however I also really liked the book a lot, especially the narration. I read it in one sitting, and it just sort of slid over me very easily.

Next: Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People by Douglas Coupland

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