Kelly Link’s Magic for Beginners collection. Pretty awesome. A lot of “coming of age” stuff and adolescent themes. But beyond charming and cute. Insightful and provocative. And sexy in that “I just found out what sexy is” sort of way. Highlights include “The Faery Handbag” (makes you bite your lip and fall in love with life again), the puzzlingly epiphanic “The Hotlak”, and the absolutely fucking terrifying “Stone Animals”. There are a couple of these short stories I feel the need to re-read to fully “get” them (e.g., I was unprepared for the many layers of “Catskin”) but these are positively fantastic stories. Best fiction of 2006? Maybe not but certainly very very good.
And then there’s Oldboy… I just don’t know what to say about this film. A. & I keep renting these Korean films. And they all turn out to be great. But they also all turn out to be very twisted. This one was no exception. I won’t go into spoiler mode here but… Wow. Maybe it’s the American directors are just too afraid to go into certain taboos but Chan-wook Park really delivered a severe cranial injury to me this evening with this overwhelming narrative. Artfully shot, great audio and music, and a cast that does not disappoint the story. If you can get this: watch it.