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Re: 'Predicament' the book

Posted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:34 am
by LauraK

Re: 'Predicament' the book

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:07 pm
by mockingbird
OK, so I finally went back and read this whole thread. ;) I'm just gonna spoiler the whole rest of this post just in case.

I felt like it took a while to get going, like SW said a while ago. It was slow getting started but it seemed to hit a decent stride somewhere about a third of the way into it. I couldn't believe it when Spook lost his head! I don't want to see that happen to Jemaine! But the gruesome puns were pretty funny.

I didn't get the sense that Cedric was a sociopath. Interesting that others did. I read him as a lonely, sheltered kid who was desperate for an identity other than the one he was being handed by fate and circumstance. Also he was bored and wanted some excitement. Then things just started snowballing out of control and he felt powerless to stop them. I think he was disturbed by the things that were happening. He felt sick with guilt. He saw himself as a monster and I don't think he was happy with that particular identity. He wanted to get out of the whole thing. So he lucked out, got his "get out of jail free" card so to speak, and was on his merry way. Disaster narrowly averted. I don't see Cedric repeating this scenario in the future. I think he considered himself ridiculously lucky to have gotten out of it and I don't think he'll do something like this again. Chalk it up to the folly of youth. Maybe I'm being overly optimistic. I did think it was kind of a cop out ending the way it all turned out, though. I mean really - his dad hits his head again and is cured? I think I saw that in a Tom and Jerry cartoon once, lol. ;)

Also, maybe this is wrong of me (ok it definitely is) but I didn't actually think it was all that wrong of them to blackmail Bramwell. Ernie Fox, yes, and Cedric felt appropriately bad about that and even helped him out. But Bramwell totally deserved it.

Can someone explain to me the whole Hemingway thing? Was Morrieson a big fan of Hemingway? Was that actually supposed to be Hemingway the author's apartment or just a homage to him? I thought that whole thing seemed kind of random.

Re: 'Predicament' the book

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:20 pm
by mohumbhai mania
Hemingway is a not-entirely-uncommon name in England and Ireland, which is the makeup of most of the non-Maori population in NZ. And it might have been a little bit of a joke as someone asked him if he'd read Faulkner and he hadn't. Chances are he might not have read Hemingway, either.

I like that you came to a different conclusion than some of us did. I will also strenuously debate the rightness of my position. LMAO!

Glad you enjoyed it.

Re: 'Predicament' the book

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:02 pm
by mockingbird
The reason I thought he was talking specifically about Ernest Hemingway was the whole "big game hunter in Africa" angle. I seem to think there was some other reason I thought he was making an EH reference, but memory fails.

Re: 'Predicament' the book

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:29 pm
by LauraK
What happened to my post? :puzzled:

Re: 'Predicament' the book

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:55 pm
by mockingbird
LauraK wrote:What happened to my post? :puzzled:

I don't know, was there a lot of gratuitous swearing and nudity in it? :lol: Post it again! (Even if there was no swearing or nudity, I'm still at least mildly interested, lol.)

Re: 'Predicament' the book

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 8:59 pm
by LauraK
D'oh. I thought my review-post was missing....thought it had been on this page for some reason. Carry on....nothing to see here but someone with little bits of mind missing... :oops: :lol:

Re: 'Predicament' the book

Posted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:11 pm
by mohumbhai mania
mockingbird wrote:The reason I thought he was talking specifically about Ernest Hemingway was the whole "big game hunter in Africa" angle. I seem to think there was some other reason I thought he was making an EH reference, but memory fails.

LOL! That is right! I'll bet it was a tiny joke in there. Glad you caught that.

Re: 'Predicament' the book

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:41 pm
by mohumbhai mania
Hey, I got the Scarecrow yesterday. And I started reading it and it is another winner.

Anyone who wants to read it, PM me, and we can send it around to a few people.

ETA: I'm moving the Predicament discussion to Conchords Cohorts into the brand-new Ronald Hugh Morrieson thread! After all, he technically is a Cohort.

Ronald Hugh Morrieson

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 9:00 pm
by mohumbhai mania
Author of Predicament, The Scarecrow and other hard-boiled yet picaresque novels of New Zealand.

Discuss Predicament and other books and the (troubled, short) life of the man here.

Re: Ronald Hugh Morrieson - Predicament's Author

Posted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:32 am
by helgecko
I finished this a few days ago, and have PM'd Val2150 for her address :)

I also very much enjoyed the book. Though, to me, it did seem a little bit like an un-polished diamond (which of course is charming in itself).
Morrieson was obviously a lover of language, his writing has a charm and lyricism beyond its basic meaning. I also think the book showed real and interesting insights into human nature, and the ability for basically "good" people to fall into "bad" situations through a series of seemingly small decisions and choices. I think it also very effectively highlights adolesence as a particularly susceptible time for this, with all the confused emotions around self esteem, identity, connection to and growing distance from family, growing sexual awareness, desire to find direction, general boredom and confusion etc etc.

I also found it really interesting that, for an author who never left NZ and rarely left his home town, for me this book seemed like one that could have been set just about anywhere in the Western World. Except for a few specific details it seemed like it could have been taking place in any small town in Australia, the UK or America. Mervyn, especially, seemed actually quite british to me. But then, I guess back in the 30's NZ and Australia were both still looking to Britain as the "Mother Country", and still slowly forming their own national identities.

But anyway, as for the story itself, it did seem a little "rough". Like others here, I didn't really get the feeling that all the the story lines were wrapped up satifactorily ... I couldn't really say how it could have been done better, I was just left thinking "oh. That's it?"
I mean, sudden endings can be very effective and punchy, but with this one I just got the feeling that Morrieson himself got bored with the story after the exciting, "meaty" stuff was done with.
He really did have a gift for characterisation though, even briefly-glimpsed "side characters" (especially the police chief) came across as well-rounded and interesting. And Cedric was a great central character, with very human depth, complexity, weaknesses and conflicting emotions.

So just after reading this one book I got the impression of Morrieson as a great imaginative writer with a wonderful comand of language, but perhaps in need of an equally great editor.

It will be really interesting to see how it's been interpreted into a film.

Re: Ronald Hugh Morrieson - Predicament's Author

Posted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:25 am
by vmh
Just wanted to see if anyone else wanted to borrow my copy of Predicament. It's currently with funny schipperke, so if you would like to be added to the list, please reply to this or PM me within the next week or so.

funny schipperke - feel free to take your time reading it.

Re: Ronald Hugh Morrieson - Predicament's Author

Posted: Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:06 am
by funny schipperke
So, I just finished reading this and I agree with the comments re: the ending. It did feel a bit like a let down. But overall I really enjoyed the book. It took me a few chapters to really get into it, but once I did, I didn't want to put it down.
The whole time I was reading I was imagining Jemaine as the Spook and trying to imagine him saying the lines. It definitely makes me want to see this even more than before. It's such a different role for him than anything he's done before. I really can't wait. Though, I'm not really looking forward to seeing him beheaded. :shock:

Another thing that I liked was being able to go back and read this thread! It was SO hard to not click on the black boxes before!

Thanks, vmh, for letting me borrow this, and thanks bakergirl for sending it to me! :D

Anyone else want to borrow it? If not, I'll just send it back to you, vmh.

Re: Ronald Hugh Morrieson - Predicament's Author

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2009 8:10 pm
by Venus
Hi all,

I finished reading the book and I’ve finally gone through this whole thread. It’s been really interesting reading your views and interpretations of the book.

Overall, I thought that Predicament was an enjoyable book to read but I agree with others who think that it took a while to get going. I didn’t read any spoilers beforehand so Spook getting beheaded did come as a complete shock to me! :shock:

It was a real page-turner towards the end. I read the book for about an hour today, got up to the part when Spook was beheaded and then I had to go to a stupid lecture so I couldn’t wait to read the book on my way home. The ending was fairly anti-climatic but I appreciated the fact that it was quite gripping towards the end and left me hungry for more which is also a good thing! The ending just leaves open the fate of Cedric as to whether he does learn from all that happened and becomes a better person or would he be spurred on by getting away with it this time round and go on to commit more worse crimes later on in his life? Who knows? I’m looking forward to seeing how Jemaine plays Spook in the film and very intrigued by how they will film Spook getting beheaded by a sword! :shock: :lol: I do believe Jemaine will play the dark, weird and awkward character of Spook very well though. :nod:

Cedric is an interesting character and I enjoyed reading about his complex thoughts such how he likened the way he stroked his face to Paphnutious in Thaïs and his genuine affection towards his granny (aww!). I actually felt for him towards the end of the book and hoped he wouldn’t get caught. Cedric, by no means, is a truly ‘good’ character due to the predicament he got himself in and actually getting a thrill out of plotting blackmail but I guess that was because of all action it was bringing into his life. I suppose all the resentment of the emotional pain caused by his dad’s tower, his appearance, academic ability (apart from his knack for writing) and loneliness built up inside of him and caused him to get involved in messy situations with Mervyn and Spook. How lucky was he to get away with it all?

And what was up with Mervyn ‘eating’ condensed milk with a spoon? :lol: I don’t mind a hint of condensed milk in my tea, my dad likes it too but my mum hates it. ;)

Ronald Morrieson certainly does have a way with words and the way he described the characters and certain situations was a pleasure to read. It’s a shame he had to endure quite a bit of rejection whilst he was alive and that he was quoted as saying that “I hope I’m not another one of those poor buggers who get discovered when they’re dead” because that inevitably became his fate.

Re: Ronald Hugh Morrieson - Predicament's Author

Posted: Fri Oct 09, 2009 10:30 pm
by deliriumtree
Okay! Finished reading Predicament last night and also read all the teasing spoiler boxes... here are my thoughts...
I agree with Laura on Cedric being Aspie, for many reasons. One that really stood out to me was the thing about the boxes or cartons. Both in his need for them in organization, but also having an attachment to them to the point where burning them seemed wrong. Other factors: he's secluded, loves to read and inhabits a world largely of his own (the thing with whispering to Jasmine and the repeating the eff'ing church part when he was hiding in the doorway), his time spent with Gus his horse (we love animals!) and picking types of people for friends that others may see as unacceptable (Mervyn) or strange (Spook). Also, that he thinks of running his hand over his face in the form of a snippet to a book and doesn't accept it as pure action. He even looks up to make sure his reference is correct. There's a lot of Aspie-ness to Cedric. Possibly to Morrieson as well.

I don't see Cedric as a sociopath really. Just having a different mindset and being very socially awkward. He wants his bad guy friends to see him in a good light. The brains of the operation. He needs that approval pretty badly. Would he go on to do more bad things? I think only if he befriends more shady people. I can't see him really putting himself out there to do things on his own. He is a co-conspirator at best. So his life in the future I think would entirely depend on what types of people cross his path. Perhaps, with his father healed and whole and not having the social stigma of the tower looming over him at all times he would fare better in his second chance life. (which to me is the purpose of the tower, it's a metaphor for his social challenges. Large and casting a huge shadow over his life. It's the bane of his existence and it's always present.). He does have a pull towards his quiet life, so I'm unsure as to wether he would meet more unsavory types. I think a big part of his motivation in his efforts to unhinge Mervyn and Spook has to do with getting his routine back of reading and spending time with his horse.

Not to say Cedric doesn't have a moral compass guiding him, although his thinking may not line up with the majority of society at large. He sees blackmailing Ernie Fox as wrong, but not someone he sees as having it coming such as Bramwell. (I didn't feel bad for Bramwell either) A touch of vigilanteism there, perhaps... So he feels a sort of strain in his trip to the dark side, and a pull to his safe life of seclusion as well.

Spook is fascinating and I can't wait to see Jemaine play him. Like Cedric, Spook is very socially awkward. He clings to the only person that has paid him attention. Had he lived I imagine Cedric would have seen more and more of Spooks devotion shift towards him or at least shared equally with Mervyn. You saw hints of that after Spook wolfed down his pie. "You gave me a pie..I love you now.." sort of vibe lol. I loved the image of Spook sitting in the rain outside Mervyns place of work. Ugh, the end of his life. I never saw that coming! I felt bad for Spook the whole book.

Really didn't see too much of a point to the character of the "Witch". Possibly could have left her out entirely as she really didn't go anywhere.

The ending, I suppose was anti-climatic but I think overall it works making the whole story just a hiccup in time for Cedric. From quiet, to chaos, to possibly an even quieter life. It has hope therein. Leaving the name calling behind, having his dad back, his solitude returned... everything his awkward heart could wish for all handed to him suddenly with a bright red bow. I enjoyed it, thanks for loaning the book out MM! Sending round to Nonch next!