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MannyRayner

Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten

La Boîte Noire

La Boîte Noire - Jacques Ferrandez, Tonino Benacquista It occurred to me that Tonino Benacquista is a bit like a French version of Iain Banks. Great storyteller, brilliant at cooking up tastefully intriguing mixtures of sex and violence with a psychological twist. Often the story is told in an odd order, or with many flashbacks. And they both like to cross genres. Banks writes both mainstream and SF. Benacquista does mainstream novels, movie scripts (check out De Battre Ma Coeur S'est Arrêté, for example), and graphic novels.

This is one of the graphic novels. Expecting me to wake up early, Pierrette had kindly given left it on the table yesterday evening before she turned in for the night. I did indeed manage to start it around 7 am, and finish before she woke up. It begins like this.

The guy's driving along a mountain road, in the dark. Occasional, menacing-looking headlights, as he meets other cars. He's smoking. Then, suddenly, a car's driving right towards him. Crash. He's luckily thrown clear, just as his car goes over the edge. He blacks out.

Weird dreams, very well rendered by the artist. None of the images make much sense. Dinosaurs. A naked blonde woman, sitting up in bed. A young mother with a baby carriage. Blood. Other stuff.

He wakes up in the hospital. The cool, sexy nurse is looking at him. She keeps him company for the next few days, and he develops a major crush on her. He keeps wondering what she's got on under her crisp blouse. He makes a pass at her. But she turns him down, and says he doesn't want to do that to Betty.

Who's Betty? He has no idea. He never does find out what the nurse has inside her blouse. But she shows him something more interesting than her boobs. He spent ten hours talking nonstop while he was in a light coma. She wrote it all down in a notebook. He mentioned Betty several times. She gives him the notebook when he checks out.

Suddenly, he remembers Betty. A girl he was in love with at primary school. He hadn't thought about her since he was 8. What else did he say? What else will the notebook tell him?

I was hooked...