Air travel reading — The Children of Men

I had hoped to put on a Children of Men double-feature on the way to China — the P.D. James novel and the Cuarón film — but I could only find the novel in our local Barnes and Noble (and yes, I know how to order on-line, it was just procrastination).  The Children of Men may not have been the cheeriest of reading on a 14-hour flight, but it was certainly a smarter choice than the somewhat derogatory Mao biography I had been thumbing in the checkout line.

Anyway, the reviews of the book are pretty spot-on: the future world James evokes is vivid and more than plausible, while the flight of the “Holy Family” at the end is awkward and ungainly.  The weaknesses of the novel’s kinetic scenes were why I was especially keen to see the movie shortly after reading the book.  Atmosphere and action are the film’s supposed strengths (thinness of plot being the weakness), so I thought the contrast would be fascinating. 

Sadly, I can’t claim to see much of myself in the protagonist.  I was moved by the transformation of Theo once he saw, however dimly at first, his chance to redeem his earlier carelessness with life.  Theo wasn’t the novel’s character that mirrored me most closely.  My mirror is pretty obvious, especially if you’ve seen a recent picture of me…

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