I am an emerging fiction writer living in Chicago. While I am a Luddite, I am using the forum because I love to meet new people, especially fellow artists, and learn new things.

Anyone interested in reading my published work can access it through the link under the My Web Site header on this blog. My short story "Life Goes on Without Me" recently won an honorable mention from Conclave: A Journal of Chracter's 2009 Fiction Contest. I am currently working on a novel, new short stories, and a creative non-fiction essay. My friend T.E. Russell has encouraged me to write a screenplay.

And as always, I am still submitting, submitting, submitting.

I look forward to meeting and reading from you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Time Traveler's Wife and The Golden Notebook

Now you may be asking yourself:  what connection could there possibly be between Audrey Niffenegger 's The Time Traveler's Wife and Doris Lessing 's The Golden Notebook ?

Today I read the section in TGN where Anna Wulf is contacted by a television producer who wants to adapt her novel Frontiers of War into a play for television.  Anna refuses and tells the producer Reginald "call me Reggie" Tarbrucke, ". . . [T]here are very few plays I see on television which encourage me to write for that medium . . . If I believed Frontiers of War could be adapted for television in a way which would satisfy me, my attitude would different" (270).

Nonetheless, Tarbruck persists, and Anna reluctantly meets with him for lunch.  As she guessed, Tarbruck, while he says "[he] was immediately struck by [Frontiers of War's] freshness and sincerity" believes the core story of the novel to be the love story and not a commentary on war and the conflict between the black and white races on the African continent (269-270).  Anna then quips she sees the play as a comedy (which the novel is not) and tells Mr. Tarbruck her ideas for the script.  Tarbruck then rescinds his initial offer.

As I read this section, I immediately thought of the film adapatation of The Time Traveler's Wife.  Like the other readers, I adored the novel and felt excited about the film adaptation.  The novel chronicles Henry's and Claire's courtship and marriage and the difficulties both face from it because of his chrono-displacement gene.  It spends much time developing the characters, major and minor, and the original story itself is deep, dramatic, funny, dark, and haunting.  The novel's ending was perfect.  I felt for Henry and especially Claire.  However, I heard from a good source that the film adapatation was a sore spot for Audrey.  As a courtesy, the film company showed her the script, and Audrey, according to my source, spent time "fixing the inane dialogue."  I was also told the script reduced the film to "I wuv you Cware.  I wuv you Henwy."  My stomach sunk though past book adapations onto film have gone this same way.

Shortly before the film's release, Rachel McAdams, who played Claire in the film, said only the love story was focused and the additional, larger issues Audrey addressed in the book were only touched on or jettisoned.  Then I read the ending was changed.

Bill and I saw the film, more out of curiosity as is the human instinct to slow down during a car wreck.  While some element of the book were kept, overall it destroyed what Audrey had created.  All that was focused on was the love story, and even those elements, Claire's multiple miscarriages, the suicide of Henry's former girlfriend, the wedding taking place in a church, were butchered or neutered.  And don't get me started on the new ending.

As Tartrufe tells Anna, "It's a simple medium.  And the audience--well I don't have to tell you, it's not the  most intellient audience" (275).  Oh how that applies to film adaptations and especially the adaptation of The Time Traveler's Wife.  Television and film all to often appeal to the lowest common denominator at the expense of the artist's original vision.  There have been very few films that remain true to the author's book.  That is when the almighty dollar serves as the muse.  Well, as I predicted, Audrey's fans were smarter than the audience the producers were vying to grab and the movie tanked in both critical and financial response.  I am not sure how the DVD sales are currently going, but I think many would prefer to wait until it appears on cable.

My friend Tatiana de Rosnay 's novel Sarah's Key just finished filming.  She said she, like Audrey, was offered the script as a courtesy to read.  Unlike Audrey, Tatiana is happy with it.  It stars Kristin Scott Thomas as Julia Jarmond.  We will see if the final cut reflects Tatiana's vision.  I do hope so.

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