Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Apple Tree Yard: Written Word vs. TV Adaptation (First Impressions)

I've finally been able to begin Louise Doughty's 2013 novel Apple Tree Yard, a book I've been curious about since recently watching the mini-series for which it was adapted a couple of years ago. I've been curious, as I always am after  watching a video adaptation of a book before reading it, to see how the TV series and the book compare. 

So far, I've only made it through the book's prologue and first chapter, but I can already see that the book much more cleverly than the movie builds the suspense that is so critical to its plot. Not to give too much away, I'll just say that the plot hinges on an immediate erotic encounter a woman has with a man she meets by chance in a professional setting. She knows nothing about the man, and he knows nothing about her. What follows that encounter has the power to ruin both their lives, and probably will.

Now I have to be careful that I don't reveal too much more plot detail because, although the book flap reveals a lot of what happens after their chance meeting, the movie plays it all in  strictly chronological, real-time order. It is only in the third episode (of four) that the TV series reveals just how much trouble these two have gotten themselves into. So, if any of you plan to watch the series, this may be one of those cases where watching the "movie" first would be the best way to go.

The book, on the other hand, begins near the end of the series by using the prologue to show exactly where the couple end up. Chapter 1 then flashes back to the night after their encounter before it describes what happened that day. All in all, I find this a much more clever way of building up to how they got there than the way the screenplay decided to do it. It's a great hook, and if I were reading Apple Tree Yard with fresh eyes, I would be well and truly hooked at that point. Even now, I'm looking forward to seeing how many other "hints," Doughty may use as the plot unfolds.

Louise Doughty is one of those new-to-me authors who has immediately impressed me. I've only read 30 pages of her work, and already I'm immersed in the world she's created and find her main character totally believable. And, good news, she has a back catalogue I'll be able to explore later on. I haven't done the research, but according to the book's "Also By Louise Doughty" page, in 2013 she had already written six other novels and a nonfiction book called A Novel in a Year. Now, I'm hoping that my enthusiasm holds up for the duration of Apple Tree Yard and that I've "discovered" another new author to enjoy for years to come. I'll know more in a few days. Time to read.

6 comments:

  1. Hope this one ends as well as it begins! :)

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    1. So far, so good. I'm finding "easter eggs" all over the place (little hints about what is to come), and that is lots of fun, even knowing already how this one turned out on video. Admiring the technique and skill with which it is done.

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  2. It's always interesting to see how the movie version compares to the book version. In most cases, the book is better for me, but there have been a few cases where the opposite is true.

    Glad you found a new author to love!

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    1. Definitely a case of the book being better, Susan. I'm really curious to get my hands on another book by Doughty to see, now, how others of hers compare to this one. (I think this was a bestseller in the UK when published.)

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  3. A new to me author, and I hope you continue to enjoy the book!

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    1. I'll let you know, Jen. If it turns out the way I hope it does, it won't be the last Louise Doughty book I review here.

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