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Showing posts from November, 2015

"The Secret Sharer" by Joseph Conrad

In college I had to read The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad twice.  And write a paper on it both times.  I hated the novella.  Hated. It.  I wrote the first paper for an introduction to literary criticism class, and for the school of criticism that I chose I could pretty much write about how I got nothing out of the story and why I got nothing out of it, and that's what I wrote about.  Now I had to read The Secret Sharer for a graduate class for library school--just when I thought I would never, ever have to read another Joseph Conrad anything ever again.  So that's just a little background for this review for The Secret Sharer also written by Joseph Conrad.  I didn't hate The Secret Sharer as much I came to hate The Heart of Darkness, but that's not really an endorsement either.

In The Secret Sharer the unnamed narrator has been recently appointed to command a ship, but he doesn't know why (seriously?), and he doesn't know the crew, and he doesn't kno…

The Crimson Field: Episodes 5 & 6

This is the conclusion of the reviews for the mini-series The Crimson Field.  By the conclusion of these two episodes, most everyone's secrets will be revealed to the audience if not to other characters.

Episode 5

This is the episode in which secrets are revealed for better or worse (for some it is definitely for worse).  Major Ballard is a rather unpleasant man with a secret that jeopardizes both his life and the men he serves with on the front lines.   Luckily the matron easily ferrets it out and turns him in to Lt. Col. Brett to confirm it.  Meanwhile Ballard rather enjoys taunting the matron in order to tease out her secret that was alluded to in the last episode by Sister Quayle.  Sister Quayle is mercifully absent throughout the episode having been suddenly and unwillingly dispatched back to England for a breather a.k.a. some soul searching to determine whether she can continue to serve under Matron Carter.  (If Sister Quayle cannot serve under matron without undermining her…

The Crimson Field: Episodes 3 & 4

Episode 3

Major Yellin has it in for Captain Gillan because Gillan is Scottish, has a lovely accent, and is uncivilized and barbarous by virtue of his low, Scottish birth.  Yellin is so determined in his campaign of harassment that he interferes with the care of one of Gillan's patients, and the two men almost come to blows over dinner, but Yellin backs down and runs with his tail between his legs to file a complaint with Lt. Col. Brett, who runs the field hospital.  Luckily Capt. Hesketh-Thorne has Gillan's back and is waiting up at dawn for Brett at his office to defend Gillan.  Meanwhile, Matron Carter cares for a man headed for certain death following his court martial for cowardice (though it's uncertain whether his injuries actually were self inflicted).  And Nurse Livesey's secret is (half) revealed to the wrong person.  While Flora ferrets out the orderly corporal's secret and warns him to be careful.

Episode 4

Just when Captain Gillan finally arranges a dat…

The Crimson Field: Episodes 1 & 2

Last week I introduced the mini-series The Crimson Field; please scroll down to catch up if you haven't already read it.  This week I'm writing (ranting) about the first two episodes.  If you've seen the mini-series, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought about it!

Episode 1

Rosalie, Kitty, and Flora arrive at the British Army field hospital outpost after a long journey.  The British Army nurses who welcome them are rather put out because these are civilian nurse volunteers with only a few months of training.  They need help, but they want Army nurse help that is properly trained not civilian volunteer help that isn't!  Kitty's immediately at odds with both Rosalie and the British Army nurse Matron Carter because Kitty has no patience for protocol, rules, or any other petty business, and she'll tell you so too.  Flora also runs afoul of Matron Carter, who, in order to save face in front of Sister Quayle, punishes Flora by assigning her to wash/…