Thursday, March 29, 2007

By the decade challenge: Murder on the Orient Express

Last night, I read my selection for the 1930s: Murder on the Orient Express (Agatha Christie). I'd never read anything by Christie, and I was expecting to be bemused by a period piece.

Instead, I was enthralled, unable to put down the book until I had finished. Not only that : since I'd never seen the movie, I was depending on the book alone , and I was utterly amazed by the ending. I never saw it coming. Great fun!

(One cavil: anyone who reads this should be prepared for some musty, unpleasant cultural stereotypes. This book is not politically correct... but one must take it as a period piece, after all.)

The tally, so far:
1890s Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde)
1900s Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
1910s Song of the Lark (Willa Cather)
1920s The Beautiful and Damned (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
1930s Murder on the Orient Express (Agatha Christie)
1940s Brideshead Revisited (Evelyn Waugh)
1950s Wise Blood (Flannery O'Connor)
1960s Speak, Memory (Vladimir Nabokov)
1970s Play It As It Lays (Joan Didion)
1980s Joy Luck Club (Amy Tan)
1990s The Biographer's Tale (A.S. Byatt)
2000s The Seven Sisters (Margaret Drabble)



Sarah said...

I was on a Christie binge a few months back, and I noticed the same thing: lots of uncomfortable moments with cultural stereotypes. There also seemed to be a whole lot of references to women who adopted children and then miraculously got pregnant because they relaxed, which is a theme I wouldn't have paid any attention to before a friend of mine started IVF. Apparently that's a very common piece of unasked-for advice today, as well.

She certainly is engrossing, though, isn't she?

Bookgirl said...

Hi Melanie - I came to your site via Jenclair's. I just had to comment that your review of Murder on the Orient Express was great. I read it earlier this month and had some of the same thoughts. I too was totally unprepared for the ending. I see you are going to read The Seven Sisters... I also read that one and I quite liked it too. Good luck on your challenge!

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

I'm glad you raised the outdated cultural themes! I had decided not to touch on it but I bet a few other raise the same point. Thanks for commenting over at Our Coffee Rings!