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Old 12-14-2016, 05:55 PM   #16
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Great review, fantasyfan.

I watched the film last night - Danish audio with English subtitles; the Criterion Collection did a DVD/BluRay re-release in 2013. The movie is very faithful to the story; the are only a few minor variances.
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Old 12-14-2016, 06:55 PM   #17
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Thanks for the review fantasyfan :-).

It did remind me of one thing though regarding the passage in the book

. . . when set down on the kitchen floor it suddenly shot out a snake-like head . . . Martine had . . . as a child owned a pet tortoise, but this thing was monstrous in size and terrible to behold.

In fact sea turtles, which are the ones that are eaten, cannot retract their heads as tortoises can, their heads and necks are permanently extended. So Martine could never have seen the turtle shoot out a snake like head.

I did wonder about this when I read it as all the sea turtles I had seen had permanently distended necks, I checked and, as far as I can determine, apparently all sea turtles are the same in that respect. Note that I am talking sea turtles here, not fresh water turtles, and many people incorrectly call terrapins turtles but which are quite different (clawed feet instead of flippers, for example). I think that sea turtles can swing their necks side ways to bring the head beside the carapace, but am not sure on that.

My pedantry on that comes from a lifetime associated with the sea . But to settle myself I suspect an Australian could just as quickly identify a passage confusing salt water crocs with freshwater ones .

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Old 12-15-2016, 07:29 AM   #18
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Goodness, the things one learns in this Club! Thanks for that, AnotherCat. We can only assume that Karen Blixen had never seen a sea turtle.

And you are right - there's a vast, life and death difference between a "salty" and a "freshy".
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Old 12-15-2016, 12:46 PM   #19
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Goodness, the things one learns in this Club! Thanks for that, AnotherCat. We can only assume that Karen Blixen had never seen a sea turtle.

And you are right - there's a vast, life and death difference between a "salty" and a "freshy".
Yes indeed. I thought that all turtles could nip their heads into their shells.
I knew that terrapins were different than aquatic turtles but only because some people in Ireland keep them as garden pets.
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Old 12-15-2016, 04:53 PM   #20
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All of this is tied to the calling of the great artist. It is they who share their vision through their gift. Babette has no more money: she has spent it all to share her transcendent power. But she is not poor.

"No, I shall never be poor. I told you that I am a great artist. A great artist, Mesdames, is never poor. We have something, Mesdames, of which other people know nothing."
Great point about the calling of an artist.

I'm reading Haruki Murakami’s new book Absolutely on Music. In the introduction, he talks about how, although Seiji Ozawa was recuperating from esophageal cancer, he was still practicing and performing intensely:
“For Seiji Ozawa, music was the indispensable fuel that kept him moving through life. Without periodic injections of live music into his veins, he could not go on living. There was only one way in this world for him to feel truly alive, and that was for him to create music with his own hands...”

There is a nice tension in the story about how the sisters and the sect members see Babette, versus how Babette sees herself. The sect members see Babette as "the dark Martha in the house of their two fair Marys"; the sisters "had granted their servant a prayer" to provide a festive meal. After the feast, the sisters feel sorry for Babette, who had not chosen that good part; it is then that Babette declares her self.
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Old 12-16-2016, 04:53 PM   #21
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I'm reading Haruki Murakami’s new book Absolutely on Music. In the introduction, he talks about how, although Seiji Ozawa was recuperating from esophageal cancer, he was still practicing and performing intensely:
“For Seiji Ozawa, music was the indispensable fuel that kept him moving through life. Without periodic injections of live music into his veins, he could not go on living. There was only one way in this world for him to feel truly alive, and that was for him to create music with his own hands...”

There is a nice tension in the story about how the sisters and the sect members see Babette, versus how Babette sees herself. The sect members see Babette as "the dark Martha in the house of their two fair Marys"; the sisters "had granted their servant a prayer" to provide a festive meal. After the feast, the sisters feel sorry for Babette, who had not chosen that good part; it is then that Babette declares her self.
Great insight! It underlines the irony that is in this story.
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Old 12-16-2016, 06:25 PM   #22
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One of the things that, for me, qualifies a novel as being a good one is if on getting to the end of it one feels that a reread would deliver more from it without its becoming boring. For example, most of Dickens novels are that way for me, the only exception being Bleak House which for me moves as slowly and tediously as the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case in its background.

I have to say that Babette's Feast, although a short story and as I have said I am not a fan of short stories, holds that measure of quality for me. So I may even read it again; heaven knows I may even sometime have a go at the whole Anecdotes of Destiny collection .
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:12 PM   #23
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I agree on rereading - so much more there to be picked up when you aren't reading to find out what happens. (But I loved Bleak House, though I have never reread it!)
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:59 PM   #24
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Well, even though I did not like Bleak House I can claim to have read it more than once, but only just .

I had it as a set book, way back in the past, and when my paper was returned it had been given 96% but there was a line through that. Underneath was a comment about my analysis being good but as I had said that I could only get 3/4 of the way through the book, as I found it so tedious, it only deserved 56% .

My mother taught English too and so the marker was a family acquaintance and it became a bit of a friendly joke on me. But only a couple of years later he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and before he died I told him that I would read Bleak House right through. It took me a couple of decades to get to it but I did.

So I have read it 1-3/4 times .
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:31 PM   #25
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Nice story!
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:44 PM   #26
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Happy New Year, everyone! I am finally catching up on my reading. I really enjoyed this story. I am glad that the book club selected another author who I've wanted to read for awhile. The discussion in this thread was also very interesting, and I'm sorry to have missed it in real-time.

I think it was a great selection for this time of year. Not just because it was short but because of the messages contained within too. I also watched the movie and enjoyed it as well. Even my husband was still commenting a few days later that he liked the movie. The same cannot be said of some of our other reads that were made into movies!

I read a few other stories within Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard and also think they are very good. I like her writing style. She delivers impact with a simplicity of words.

I thought this article on her writing was interesting: "Karen Blixen and Isak Dinesen: One woman, two authors."
http://news.ku.dk/all_news/2012/2012...n_two_authors/

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Old 01-01-2017, 07:45 PM   #27
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And a Happy New Year from me too.

Thanks very much for this link, Bookworm_Girl. How very interesting to know this, both that she wrote nearly all her novels in English and then translated them, and also that she made changes. So the Danish versions are the revised texts I suppose, but also, it seems, stylistically different.
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