From the book:
July 1954. An island off the coast of Maine. Ann Grant- a 25 year-old New York career girl- is a bridesmaid at her best friend’s lavish wedding. Also present is a man named Harris Arden, whom Ann has never met...
After three marriages and five children, Ann Lord lies dying in an upstairs bedroom of a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. What comes to her, eclipsing a stream of doctor’s visits and friends stopping by and grown children overheard whispering from the next room, is a rush of memories from a weekend 40 years ago in Maine, when she fell in love with a passion that even now throws a shadow onto the rest of her life. In Evening, Susan Minot gives us a novel of spellbinding power on the nature of memory and love.
My two cents worth:
“Let’s just say that you won’t see the leaves change this year” was Dr Baker’s honest answer to how long Ann had left in the world. As she lies dying from cancer with little time left in the world, heavily medicated and rarely lucid, her mind goes back in time from one memory to another of how her life was spent.
Her most significant memory was from 40 years ago, over one weekend in Maine at her best friend’s wedding, where she found and lost her true love. In between, her memory also jumps to her three other husbands who she could not love to the fullest owing to the memory of the man she met that one weekend at the wedding.
It can be quite confusing to read the book at times as the story is told from a perspective of a delirious woman on her death bed. The memories get jumbled up and you may have to read certain parts twice just to be sure if it was from the past or present. Despite the confusion, the book brings out the highs and lows of Ann’s life which in reality we could all relate to in our own lives.
The book had a realistic feel to it- how children are affected by a parent’s illness; their plans to move forward; an ailing woman on her death bed who reflects on the significance of her life. Evening touches on life and death, love and loss and is a beautiful novel to read.
I’ve been wanting to catch this movie for the longest time but decided to hold it off until I finished the book. With a bit of free time over the weekend, I managed to get my hands on the DVD, sat myself down on the sofa and dedicated my full attention to the movie.
One cannot help but feel star struck with the list of cast for the movie which included Claire Danes, Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Toni Collete and Natasha Richardson. Even with the star studded cast, unfortunately the movie came across flat and did not highlight the different characters as the book did. The movie also had moments that were dragging (to be honest I dozed off at one point).
For those who have not read the book, the movie might be acceptable. But for those who have read the book, you will find that the storyline had changed drastically to fit the screens. However, the movie did successfully carry the essence of the book which still touched on life and death, love and loss.
Verdict: Both the book and the movie are draggy but the book had more depth in terms of storyline and character. So book wins again.