Author Topic: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)  (Read 3374 times)

touchingcloth

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Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« on: October 19, 2017, 06:09:39 PM »
Pullman's first installment in his Book of Dust trilogy is launched today. Book one - La Belle Sauvage - covers events ten years before those of Northern Lights, so back when Lyra was just a babba. Other than that, I know very little about it as I am trying to avoid spoilers, so keep them OUT OF THIS THREAD UNTIL I GIVE THE ALL CLEAR, you cunts.

Anyone else planning on reading it? The His Dark Materials trilogy are some of the best fiction books I've ever read, with the whole concept of Dust in particular being possibly the best device I've come across. I'm interested to see how he expands on that concept, as the earlier trilogy didn't delve too deeply or explicitly into it until quite close to the end.

Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2017, 07:37:53 PM »
I'm looking forward to it.

Discovered today that there's a version (not sure whether abridged or not) being broadcast this Saturday on Radio 4, and then it's repeated as the Book at Bedtime for the next fortnight. There's also a series of essays by Pullman in the Book of the Week slot as well.

Will probably wait to read it, rather than listen though.

Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2017, 07:43:45 PM »
I've got this on reserve at Waterstones. Get paid tomorrow. Will pick it up on the way home from the day shift. Looking forward to it.

Serge

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2017, 08:33:05 PM »
Up at 6.30 so I could be at work at 7.30 to open the shop at 8 to all the hordes who will be knockin' down the door to get at this. We sold one copy before 9 o'clock (our usual opening time.)

Why haven't they made the size of the book fit in with any previous version of the series that's currently available? They've just bought out some new hardback editions of the original trilogy, so I assumed the new book would be in that format so that people could buy them all in a pleasingly harmonious set, but apparently not....

touchingcloth

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2017, 09:55:00 PM »
Are you selling hard- and paperback versions, Serge? I ordered on Amazon where they’re selling hardbacks sold and fulfilled by Amazon, but paperbacks sold by third parties. Not sure if the paperback ones are pirate or reviewer copies or something, but it seems odd to me that Amazon themselves aren’t selling both versions if they both exist on legitimate forms.

Serge

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2017, 10:04:56 PM »
Just hardbacks. Possibly the paperbacks are American versions? Or, as you say, proof copies, though I can't imagine too many of them being sent out for a book they'd want to keep under wraps until publication day.

touchingcloth

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2017, 10:20:58 PM »
Exactly - the lack of torrents shows that they’ve done a good job of keeping it under wraps, too. The paperbacks could be fraudulent sellers, which is something I’ve come across on Amazon a fair bit since they went down the eBay route of allowing third parties to sell via their site.

I did pay for the book, by the way. I was looking for a ripped Kindle or ePub in advance of getting my hard copy.

tookish

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2017, 11:30:58 PM »
I'm seven chapters in, and trying to pace myself so that I don't gobble the whole thing down in a night and then feel sad.

No spoilers, as I'm not a cunt, but what I will say is that, so far, it's compelling, and beautifully written, and wondrously paced. Philip Pullman is one of the first writers who made me appreciate writing as a craft, rather than just thinking 'cor, what a great story.'

Mister Six

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2017, 09:22:49 PM »
I liked the first HDM book, but felt they became increasingly unweildy and unengaging as they went along - same with the Harry Potterses. Might give this ago, but not if it's some vast bloody tome.

Also I'm not that interested in reading about her mum and dad. It's not about them is it?

touchingcloth

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2017, 10:46:30 AM »
I finished this last night, and thought it was quite great. Beautifully written, great characters and a fantastically creepy and genuinely terrrifying villain in Bonneville (hopefully to be played by Hugh if it ever makes it to screen). I'm looking forward to reading more into the various references he used and sources he drew from, because like HDM it was clearly packed with literary and cultural allusions, but without any THIS BIT IS FROM THE BIBLE!!! lampshades being hung on anything.

If I had to level a criticism at it, it would be that Malcolm, Alice and Hannah, and the relationship between the three of them feels pretty much like a find-and-replace for Lyra, Will and Mary, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I do hope they have some fairly different arcs in the next two books. I also hope that something like the subtle knife makes an appearance in this trilogy, because the dimension hopping and narrow escapes it allowed for made for some truly fantastic moments in the original books. Not arsed about any little grasshopper cunts, though, they can get right to fuck.

Regarding whether this book is about Lyra’s parents, it isn’t. They both feature in it, but we don’t directly follow either Asriel or Coulter, and I think the most either of them feature for is perhaps five pages at a time with tens or hundreds of pages between appearances.

To Tookish or anyone else who has finished this already, did it feel to you like the Brytain of this book was slightly at odds twit that of Northern Lights, particularly where technology was concerned? There were more references to electrical and petrol power than I remember in HDM - it could just be my memory at fault, but at points it felt more like things were taking place in Will's Oxford when they were supposed to be happening in Lyra's.

Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2020, 09:24:49 AM »
Looked for a thread for The Secret Commonwealth but couldn't see anything.

It felt like it took me an age to finish it as the hardback is not a train friendly size. It felt less self contained than Belle Sauvage and is clearly setting up the third book but Pullman's writing (and this universe in particular) is just a joy to read for me so the length of it is definitely a bonus.

Trying not to spolier anything but there was a particular passage which I found really agonising and the clearest indication yet that this is definitely not a kids book. I'm sure the swearing has increased too although he's never been shy to drop the odd swear in here and there. It felt a much more 'grownup book' than the first (like the original trilogy to be fair) but still has that fairytale quality.

Inspector Norse

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2020, 09:33:29 AM »
There was a bit of vague discussion about it in the His Dark Materials TV series thread.

I liked it a lot more than the first of the new trilogy, which I felt was too episodic and strangely at odds with the world I remembered from the original trilogy. This time, it captured a lot more of the peculiar mystery and excitement, and felt much more like something serious was at stake.

Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2020, 09:40:48 AM »
This time, it captured a lot more of the peculiar mystery and excitement, and felt much more like something serious was at stake.
Yes would definitely agree about it having a more serious nature (I found the sudden change in the first book after the flood to complete 'fairytale' to be a bit jarring even though that kind of storytelling has always been a key part of the books) .It sets up a number of moving parts for the third book which should all prove very interesting to see played out.

touchingcloth

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2020, 12:34:32 AM »
I really enjoyed the book. I made reference in the HDM TV thread to the fact that part of the ending dedications was a bit of a gut punch - and this isn't a spoiler to the story so I'll just up and say it was the Grenfell bit - but in general the book felt a lot more desolate (in a good way), almost like a book-length version of how I felt when Lyra and Will had their final bench meeting in Amber Spyglass.

SPOILERS TO EXPLAIN THE ABOVE THAT YOU SHOULDN'T READ UNLESS YOU'RE WELL INTO THE BOOK

I'm talking about Pan leaving Lyra, of course.

touchingcloth

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2020, 12:37:15 AM »
Trying not to spolier anything but there was a particular passage which I found really agonising and the clearest indication yet that this is definitely not a kids book.

Can you post the passage? If you hit the "Change Color" button above the edit window it'll give you a thing saying "color=yellow", and if you swap "yellow" for "transparent" then things are only visible for people who choose to quote your post...

Zetetic

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2020, 12:42:16 AM »
Or you can just use spoiler tags, now.

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[spoiler]spoiler tags[/spoiler]
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Zetetic

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2020, 12:46:58 AM »
I'm guessing the attempted multiple-perpetrator rape might be what Glyn had in mind, which didn't feel effective or necessary to me. A lot of the end felt a bit rushed and that the tone jumped in a way that felt poorly constructed rather than justifiable sudden or erratic - but then I finished it quite quickly after being away from the book for a while, which probably didn't help.

touchingcloth

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Re: Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust trilogy)
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2020, 12:54:32 AM »
I finished it under the same circumstances. I was away from the book for long enough that I didn't realise that the one Lyra meets at the very end who is named for a Grenfell victim had met Pan earlier.

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