I finally finished The Manchurian Candidate. I was reading for about a month I guess... no, longer, because I started it before we moved. Maybe six weeks. Anyway, I haven't had much time to read, so it was touch-and-go for a while. I was interested in the book as soon as I started reading it, but it took a while for me to understand what was going on, which I think is intentional. By the time I was halfway through I was totally engrossed, and I spent two hours this evening polishing it off.
I was really impressed with this book. I knew absolutely nothing about it going in, so it was a pleasant surprise. The writing was engaging, the story was intense and surprisingly fucked up, and I didn't see the twist coming at all. In retrospect of course it's sort of obvious, but honestly it was so well done I was blindsided, which is very rare. I literally gasped. Gasped! I think the book got a tad bogged down in the middle, but it was totally worth it.
I have both movie versions in my Queue, although at the rate I'm going it will be years before I see them (Pieces of April has been on the coffee table for about three weeks). I'm really curious about them. The biggest shock of the book would be ruined if you saw certain scenes, so I'm wondering if they were avoided entirely or else how they were staged to make it work. Or if that whole aspect was written out, which I can't imagine but I wouldn't know until I saw it if that would work. I know that the modern version uses a Big Company as the ominous evil instead of the Communists, which I guess is an acceptable alternative. I'm not a big Denzel Washington fan, but Meryl Streep alone would make me watch that version. I want to see the original first though.
Now I'm going to read Harry Potter. That's right, you heard me. And if I like it, I can get the other six (or whatever) books to read on the plane next month.