I had been reading about this author before and his stories sounded like they would be interesting. He is perhaps most famous for two of his works: "Wonder Boys", which was a 1995 novel and a 2000 film starring Michael Douglas and Katie Holmes-Cruise-Alien-Hubbard, was about a college professor's quirky and complex journey to finish a 2,611 fiction manuscript as a follow up to his previous hit novel. Chabon's other hit was called "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay", a New York Times Bestseller which many have called one of the key literary feats of 2000 as well as being nominated for PEN award. It's about the lives of Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, a Jewish artist and a Jewish writer respectively, through the beginning, middle and end of World War II. It's one of those books that's named after the sentence "From the author of" on every single work that Chabon follows up with, until you are convinced to stop beating around the bush and just go pick it up to see what the artful hype is about.
However, "The Final Solution" is a more low-key, measly 166-page novella about an old man who decides to help a little boy, a German-Jewish refugee, find his missing parrot. The true identity of the old man is never said in plain words, but it is heavily hinted that it's indeed Sherlock Holmes. The title of the book references both Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "The Final Problem" and the plan of Nazi Germans to commit genocide against European Jews. This definitely grabbed my attention more than anything else, if only because I love the character and a film about him by Guy Ritchie starring Robert Downey Jr. and (I think a miscast) Jude Law is coming out this November.
In the few pages I've read, it's pretty good. Chabon is not an accessible author, as he peppers every sentence with about 2-3 words that you'd probably have to look up in the dictionary or take a few moments to define within the context of the sentence, but he's done his job in immediately interesting me in who this boy and his parrot is.
As always, I'm up to my neck in books that I'd like to finish and films I'd like to watch (films that haven't been released yet). Such books as:
-"Hannibal Rising" by Thomas Harris, a prequel to the main three Hannibal Lecter novels
-"Live and Let Die" by Ian Fleming
-"The Caves of Steel" by Isaac Asimov
-the last two Harry Potter books (I was pissed at the end of the 5th one)
-"Twilight" which I'm not hyped or excited for but want to read to see what's grabbing everyone.
-"Pygmy" by Chuck Palahniuk, one of my favorite authors.
Some films that look great are:
-"9", the gothic stop animation/CGI film
-of course "Sherlock Holmes", as I've already mentioned
-"Public Enemies", the Great Depression-Era gangster film by Michael Mann (Collateral) with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale
-"The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus", the fantasy film by Terry Gilliam starring Christopher Plummer and partly Heath Ledger before he passed away, but now features as replacements Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell. My curiousity is very arrested by this film: the story of a 1,000 year old theater troupe leader who, after making a deal with the devil, has the ability to show people their own imaginations through a magical mirror.
-I suppose many think "Watchmen" should be on this list. I think that film will suck, as I am not a fan of Zack Snyder's work and I don't really see a way to squeeze this graphic novel into a film. But I am curious.
Bollocks. Here's my resolution for 9002*, this will truly be the year of Progress!
*done on purpose.