Thursday, December 16, 2010

Color Me Brown

I love exploring the blogsphere and reading all the fun reviews, fascinating interviews and fabulous discussion posts. I get to share those with you here as part of Color Me Brown :) A weekly round-up of links

In a new movie version of Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff will finally be Black! This is semi-old news but I forgot to share it with you all. Found via BronteBlog
Handsome, brooding and dark-skinned, like Laurence Olivier.

Laurence Olivier wasn't dark-skinned. Maybe more like Ralph Fiennes – you know, swarthy.
Sorry, but they're both white guys, and both quite pasty with it. OK, but they both played Heathcliff in adaptations of Wuthering Heights. And Heathcliff was basically a black guy.

You have evidence for this? As a child, Heathcliff was plucked from the streets of Liverpool and taken in by Mr Earnshaw. His actual provenance is unknown, but in Brontë's 1847 novel the boy is variously described as being "dusky" or "a gipsy". One character says he looks like "a little Lascar, or an American or Spanish castaway".

Fascinating. What's a Lascar? It's a 19th-century term for an East Indian sailor.

Right. So he's dark-skinned but he has never been played by a dark-skinned actor. Until now, that is: a new adaptation directed by Andrea Arnold (who won an Oscar for Fish Tank) will star an unknown black actor called James Howson.
Liz B: Each chapter starts with a SAT word. The word is meaningful to the chapter, but is also a constant reminder to the reader how focused Efrain is on his studies. In your writing process, what came first, the chapter or the words? I just have this image of you going through an SAT guide with post-its!

Sofia: Definitely the chapters, and I had something better than an SAT guide. On the Internet, I found a PDF called The 1000 Most Common SAT Words. And index cards instead of Post-its! At one point, I had an outline where I listed the word followed by a 3-5 sentence summary of what happens in that chapter. I changed that all the time as I would revise the manuscript. In fact, there were quite a few times when I found a better word than the one I had originally chosen to capture the nuances and subtexts of a chapter. I’m glad that the titles delivered on my intention for them. Even though I did want the novel to have educational value, my primary intention behind the SAT words as chapter titles was to remind the reader why Efrain was enduring these tribulations. So much happens to him once he makes his choice that I worried readers might lose sight as to why he made that choice in the first place so the chapter titles were meant to serve as a constant reminder.

Interview with B.A. Binns
at theHappyNappyBookseller
After school David works at job he loves construction, to help support him and his sisters.Where did this love of construction come from?

I assume you mean David, because I’m like that guy who can’t drive a nail straight. Although I did share a pizza slice with a young construction worker one winter night when I first started writing Pull. But that’s another story and besides I only used him for research. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)David went into construction first because he needed a job that paid more than minimum wage and found a family friend willing to hire a part-timer. Once in the trade, he found himself a natural. Some people learn from books, some from their hands. He’s the latter. Add in co-workers who treated him like a man from the start, and a boss he learned to respect, and he was hooked. I think he likes the solitary nature of the work too. There is a crew, but mostly he gets to work alone, just him and his thoughts. And at the end of the shift, he has something tangible to show for his efforts.

Jodie at BookGazing reviews A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee, a young adult novel about a female spy with a mysterious past.

the female characters in Lee’s novel work within societal constraints, or under cover of the sexist assumptions of society, in order to increase the amount of career emancipation they enjoy.

Now that’s not to say that these female characters always confirm society’s views on women in their efforts to advance their own professional gains. Mary, who we’ve seen described above as an impatient lady with a temper can’t always keep her thoughts inside her head. When men begin maligning her sex and (crucially) it won’t endanger her professional occupation she has to set them straight, as the conversation below shows:

‘He sighed patronizingly. “When men enlist, they know they are risking their lives. When gently bred young women flock to a military encampment, they not only endanger themselves, they also distract those who must look after them, and who ought to be thinking of other things.”

“And males are only too eager to blame all their shortcomings on the distraction represented by females,” Mary retorted. “As though nurses are the only women in an encampment!”

George’s jaw dropped at her rather obvious reference to prostitutes.’

When she can’t correct them out loud she tends to correct their thinking in her head which the reader can read and appreciate.

Dhonelle Clayton talks about her WiP, MG steampunk about a bi-racial girl
and asks for recommendations of MG/YA books about biracial main characters in which race isn't a big issue. She also wonders how successful her book would be.

When reviewers neglect to mention the ethnic and/or racial identity of main characters in successful books, does it add to the feeling that biracial characters are invisible in the teen market? Are they doing the book a disservice, even if it isn’t central to the plot?

My historical steampunk novel would be complicated by the race relations of the late 1800s if I made my character full-blood African-American, so I chose to give myself some freedom by making her only half. Additionally, I think that it enhances the tension in the novel to have her be able to pass for white, but also be confronted with the racism her mother faces. The novel is not about race and it’s not a sub-plot or part of the thematic content of the novel. But it is mentioned to add another layer of isolation and tension to the main character’s journey and how she came about. I do worry about whether this decision will effect the book’s marketability and whether my main character’s biraciality will be swept under the rug in reviews and marketing

Leave your links por favor!

1 comment:

Steph Su said...

Oh, that's such good news about the new movie Heathcliff!