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  #31  
Old 03-27-2016, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Droewyn View Post
The book takes aim at Victor Hugo and his contemporaries
Goldman is also merciless about skewering Updike, et al. The Sandy Sterling episode is a Rabbit subplot cut hilariously short.
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  #32  
Old 03-27-2016, 08:24 PM
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...go on
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  #33  
Old 03-28-2016, 08:03 AM
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You have a frustrated but professionally successful white man haunted by potent emotions from his youth who is immediately entranced by a young woman he encounters by chance. An entire school of postwar novelists (and Charlie Kaufman) would have him spend the next 200 pages banging the shit out of Sandy while ruminating on the prison of middle-class values, maybe even break things up by having him lecture her about authenticity while she recited free verse about his masculine power. Goldman the character ends up resisting temptation not because he doesn't want to sleep with Sandy, but because he flips his shit trying to live up to his dad's example. He does good in spite of himself. It's funny on levels.
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  #34  
Old 03-28-2016, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Ample Vigour View Post
You have a frustrated but professionally successful white man haunted by potent emotions from his youth who is immediately entranced by a young woman he encounters by chance. An entire school of postwar novelists (and Charlie Kaufman) would have him spend the next 200 pages banging the shit out of Sandy while ruminating on the prison of middle-class values, maybe even break things up by having him lecture her about authenticity while she recited free verse about his masculine power. Goldman the character ends up resisting temptation not because he doesn't want to sleep with Sandy, but because he flips his shit trying to live up to his dad's example. He does good in spite of himself. It's funny on levels.
Except I hated the introduction and feel cheated for even having read it...
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  #35  
Old 03-28-2016, 01:51 PM
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Except I hated the introduction and feel cheated for even having read it...
The introduction is central to the book. William's relationship with his father contextualizes the father/son relationships to follow, in the same fashion that his relationship with his wife contextualizes the romantic love that follows.

e: The frame story also sets the stage for the big theme.

The Princess Bride is fundamentally concerned with disappointment. More specifically, with the state of being disappointed by life. Not angered by life, or wronged by life, or crushed by life. Disappointed, in that uniquely literary way that people who have been able to achieve part of their dreams get to be disappointed. Sam Lowry, not Tom Joad.

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  #36  
Old 03-28-2016, 02:31 PM
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I'm totally on board with this interpretation. I always thought the final punchline is the meanest. There's a temptation to read it as somewhat hopeful. Things are bad and will get worse but for the moment things are okay. The book ends in this brief happy moment, so were happy as readers but if we kept going just a bit further the moment is ruined. We're promised we will be. That ties in super well and is probably the best subversion of Dumas et all.
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  #37  
Old 03-29-2016, 02:47 AM
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A little late, but I just got this! I'm gonna read it!
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  #38  
Old 03-29-2016, 08:38 AM
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I'm totally on board with this interpretation. I always thought the final punchline is the meanest. There's a temptation to read it as somewhat hopeful. Things are bad and will get worse but for the moment things are okay. The book ends in this brief happy moment, so were happy as readers but if we kept going just a bit further the moment is ruined. We're promised we will be. That ties in super well and is probably the best subversion of Dumas et all.
There's the hope of satisfaction, I think. Goldman the writer presents us with these fantastic characters in the middle of an earthshaking romance, and they're miserable. Inigo's faced with frustration and becomes a hopeless drunk. Fezzik throws in with the bad guys. Mr. Westley, he dead. And like you said, the ending takes great pains to point out that the climax of the story fixes none of these problems. So Goldman the character comes up for air out of this fairy tale and realizes he's got it good, and that his life can be enough if he's got the courage to accept it on its own terms.

Not a novel philosophy, but presented well.

It's worth noting that the movie can be seen as a 'good parts' bowdlerization of the novel's own 'good parts' version. Like I said, funny on levels.
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  #39  
Old 03-29-2016, 09:04 AM
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I'm not doing a re-read now, but oh man AV is doing the yeoman's work in this thread.

Lovely criticism of a great novel often overshadowed by an also great movie that needs to be understood as a complement to (rather than in opposition with, and/or ranked as better or worse than) the book.

(I'm also very thankful that my Freshman year English teacher in high school assigned this as the first book of the year. What a smart way to trick obnoxious young teenagers starting high school to think about novels not just in terms of story but in terms of form and structure! It worked even better pre-internet ubiquity. Now wikipedia would probably ruin it for everyone...)
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  #40  
Old 03-29-2016, 09:19 AM
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I see the book as a 'satire of satire' where the author doesn't trust you to figure what he's saying by yourself and can't help but to sit you down and explain it to you.
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  #41  
Old 03-29-2016, 09:20 AM
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Mmm, for the surface level stuff, sure, but the emotional heart of the book lies in the little scenes and ostensibly throwaway lines that hint at more.
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  #42  
Old 03-29-2016, 09:28 AM
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I see the book as a 'satire of satire' where the author doesn't trust you to figure what he's saying by yourself and can't help but to sit you down and explain it to you.
What satire is it satirizing?
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  #43  
Old 03-29-2016, 02:39 PM
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Not thinking of anything specifically, just sort of poking fun at the sort of writer who is like 'see what I did here I'm so clever please ask me what this means so I can explain how clever I am.'

The Goldman presented in the book treats his audience like children who need to have everything explained to them because they couldn't possibly be as clever as him.
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  #44  
Old 03-29-2016, 04:06 PM
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Not really? He's there explaining his cuts in the abridgment, which is necessary to keep up the illusion that this is an abridgment even if it doesn't quite make sense to keep those in the finished work.
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  #45  
Old 03-29-2016, 04:51 PM
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And telling the reader what to think and explaining to the reader that there is good and bad in the world, and that life isn't always fair, and that he doesn't trust you with the ending so he's not including it.
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  #46  
Old 03-30-2016, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by estragon View Post
I'm not doing a re-read now, but oh man AV is doing the yeoman's work in this thread.

Lovely criticism of a great novel often overshadowed by an also great movie that needs to be understood as a complement to (rather than in opposition with, and/or ranked as better or worse than) the book.
Thanks, estragon. I agree that the movie is a good complement to the book, and well made besides. I don't want to drop the i-bomb but one thing it does is let you experience the story as young William does, without the weight of knowledge that comes from reading the unabridged version or from being a frustrated adult.
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  #47  
Old 03-31-2016, 11:25 AM
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I think they decided to change the ending because of the time period. Pretty much all fantasy movies that came out in the 80's were expected to have a positive ending as a form of escapism. I'm pretty sure today though, you could get away with doing the original ending
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  #48  
Old 03-31-2016, 04:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ample Vigour View Post
The introduction is central to the book. William's relationship with his father contextualizes the father/son relationships to follow, in the same fashion that his relationship with his wife contextualizes the romantic love that follows.

e: The frame story also sets the stage for the big theme.
Funny story - a friend gave me a copy several years ago. Just before, I had read The Three Musketeers, which had spoiled some major stuff in the forward which I was quite put out about. So, I decided to skip the intro and jump into the first chapter, which led to quite some confusion on my part.
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  #49  
Old 03-31-2016, 05:02 PM
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Forwards by the author are usually safe. It's guest forewards that are trouble.

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  #50  
Old 04-01-2016, 04:13 PM
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Started on this! Got through both author forewords (30th anniversary and 25th anniversary), then the first chapter/introduction.

It sets a very different tone than the movie. The middle-aged man with strained marital and parental relationships longing for the nostalgia of being read a bedtime story, hoping to recreate his favorite moment of parenthood with his own son; I found it interesting that he just tried to send the book to his son to read instead of reading it to him himself, which I imagine he'll have to come around to later in the book (I think he mentions something to that effect in one of the the forewords). Compared to the movie which just goes straight to grandpa columbo reading the book, it sets a much different tone for the childlike joy of fairytale, one of nostalgia seeped in cynicism vs the enrapturement of the child.

This is probably just repackaging everything AV already said. I guess I could just say "Yes I agree."
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  #51  
Old 04-03-2016, 07:11 PM
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I finally got a copy of this book. This had better not suck.
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  #52  
Old 04-03-2016, 07:13 PM
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I finally got a copy of this book. This had better not suck.
It doesnt! But this thread is about to get spoilery, so read quick! =P
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  #53  
Old 04-03-2016, 07:25 PM
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It's April and so feel free to spoil. Though after re-reading the thread it seems we've already done that...

Just remember before you click submit that some people are still reading!

Hope to see all y'all for April's book too!
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  #54  
Old 04-04-2016, 10:12 AM
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Westley and Buttercup just got taken outside the Fire Swamp in my reread.

I have to say that I really disliked the 25th and 30th anniversary introductions. I just prefer the Morgenstern conceit to remain in the novel itself. When you're talking about how Andre the Giant climbed the Cliffs of Insanity to prepare himself to play the role of Fezzik, that throws all of your stories about making the movie into question. I don't remember if I ever found those introductions charming, but I will certainly skip them in the future.
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  #55  
Old 04-05-2016, 11:50 PM
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I was completely unaware of the "good parts" joke until this thread. It's fun yet odd to read a book interjecting like this, and making fun of scholars and lawyers and also the concept of satire itself.

I like it a lot, and it's fascinating that despite the movie being almost word for word the tone is so damn different.
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  #56  
Old 04-06-2016, 12:21 AM
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I just started and the (this was before X) recurring joke might be my favorite thing.

The longer more detailed opening scene didn't do any favors for Westley or Buttercup though, portraying him as kind of boorish and her as kind of dumb. Going to spend my whole time wondering what's a misstep and what's ultimately Part of the Joke.
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  #57  
Old 04-06-2016, 08:48 AM
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When you're talking about how Andre the Giant climbed the Cliffs of Insanity to prepare himself to play the role of Fezzik, that throws all of your stories about making the movie into question.
That kind of blurring of reality is exactly what he's aiming for. I don't see the problem with it?
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  #58  
Old 04-06-2016, 09:07 AM
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The longer more detailed opening scene didn't do any favors for Westley or Buttercup though, portraying him as kind of boorish and her as kind of dumb. Going to spend my whole time wondering what's a misstep and what's ultimately Part of the Joke.
I think Buttercup being kind of dumb is supposed to be a joke, but it ends up being easily the weakest part of the book.
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  #59  
Old 04-06-2016, 09:26 AM
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Yeah, Buttercup is selfish and a bit dim. It's definitely part of the joke, and if it seems mean-spirited it's because a lot of the humor in TPB is pretty mean-spirited.
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  #60  
Old 04-06-2016, 12:42 PM
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Just got through the part where she determines it's totally okay to not marry for like, and yeah, the huge dividing line between the book and the movie is definitely that deep cynical streak. Of course I know how the plot goes next (they're approaching the cliffs of insanity atm) and so there's a bit of overturn there, but from what you guys have said about the later parts I wonder how much is overturned and how much is affirmed. WE SHALL SEE!
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