Oh, I wish someone had told me beforehand that this was a drama! I was so taken by the characters that the story ending just blew me away and left me sorry for them… I’m getting so easily emotional these days (I even sobbed like crazy over a Cole Porter biopic, much to Mr. Smithereens’ dismay)!
Shreve uses an alternate point of view between 5 main characters, and each voice is equally believable, thanks to Shreve’s sensibility and attention to historical detail. The novel is set in a small industrial town on the New England seaside in 1929, so that we get to feel what the big economic crash meant in the everyday life of workers, independent professionals and wealthier people. Reading this book as the stock market is erratic, the sub-prime crisis has forced many people in the US to sell their home and the economy is taking a downturn is a sad coincidence. But however grim the situation now seems, the 1929 crisis had a much deeper impact: people really starved and took the road rather than to die.
During my bouts of pregnancy insomnia, I imagined what actor could play each of the characters, should the book be adapted into a movie. I thought of Renee Zellweger as Honora, the solid yet dreamy housewife who sees her marriage crumbling as her husband loses his job and money. I thought of Ashley Judd as Vivian, the upper-class dilettante who discovers the fate of poor factory workers. There are still 3 roles to fill: Alphonse, the resilient young boy who toils in the factory, Sexton, Honora’s charming but untrustworthy husband, and McDermott, the proud factory worker who gives a hand to union activists to organize a strike… but I realize I’m much less knowledgeable in male actors! Any idea? I would be a terrible casting director, but trying to find a convincing connection between a fictional character and a real life actor is fun! (even though it makes me all the more difficult to convince when I go watch a movie adaptation). Do you ever play this game in your head?
PS. Courtney, you convinced me to read this book and to look for Fortune’s Rocks… unfortunately that one isn’t available here… I’ll have to mooch it!