The Beguiled

The Beguiled

A Novel

eBook - 2017
Average Rating:
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"The basis for the major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, and Elle Fanning, and directed by Sofia Coppola "[A] mad gothic tale. The reader is mesmerized with horror by what goes on in that forgotten school for young ladies." --Stephen King, in Danse Macabre Wounded and near death, a young Union Army corporal is found in the woods of Virginia during the height of the Civil War and brought to the nearby Miss Martha Farnsworth Seminary for Young Ladies. Almost immediately he sets about beguiling the three women and five teenage girls stranded in this outpost of Southern gentility, eliciting their love and fear, pity and infatuation, and pitting them against one another in a bid for his freedom. But as the women are revealed for what they really are, a sense of ominous foreboding closes in on the soldier, and the question becomes: Just who is the beguiled?"-- Provided by publisher.
A wounded Union soldier taken in by the women at a girl's school in the South manages to seduce both a student and a teacher, and jealousy and revenge ensue.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Penguin Books,, 2017
ISBN: 9780525504382
0525504389
Characteristics: 1 online resource (372 pages)
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks

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lukasevansherman
Nov 07, 2017

I didn't know until Sofia Coppola's 2017 version of the film that "The Beguiled" was a book. It was made not very famous by the 1971 film that starred Clint Eastwood and was directed by Don Siegel ("Dirty Harry"). It was one of Eastwood's weirdest films. A wounded Yankee soldier ends up in an obscure all girls school and is nursed to help, while also setting their delicate feminine world aflutter. Its ideas about gender are a little outdated, as is its decaying Southern mansion Gothic sensibility. It is somewhat interesting in that it's told from multiple perspectives. Coppola, who can hardly be accused of being "woke" or "interested in non-white people," was criticized for leaving out the slave character. I have no idea if author Thomas Cullinan wrote anything else.

g
gailjackman
Aug 04, 2017

Actually very disappointing as expected book to move along at faster speed which it does, but near the last last 150 pages. Rather boring in some places and at first hard to understand the dialect of the South during Civil War.

d
darladoodles
Jul 27, 2017

I was beguiled by the premise of the book, but found it to be a bit of a cumbersome read. The POVs switch so quickly at the beginning of the book that I kept going back to Amelia's report to McBurney on the students of the school to try and straighten out who was who.

As the book moved along, the chapters got too long and we were belaboring tiny details yet we still could hardly distinguish one character from another. Only Amelia stands out as a paragon of virtue especially where nature is involved. She seemed to value McBurney for who he was and not for what he could do for her.

Mattie was also a character who stands out from the pack. Her comment early on is a fitting epitaph for this book: "I didn't have any notion then how much evil we got in us, all of us. Seems like none of us every stop to think how evil can collect in us. . .how one little mean thought can pile on another 'til finally we got a mighty load of badness stacked up inside us. . .and then all it takes is maybe one nasty word to set off the trigger in us. . .and maybe that's some little triflin thing that wouldn't even have raised our tempers in a calmer time. . .and then we rush ahead and do things we coulda sworn to the Lord Almighty in the beginning we never had in us to do”

I don't think the movie seems as interesting now -- Nicole Kidman as a dried up old maid? Kirsten Dunst as an 18-year-old girl of mixed race? And Colin Ferrell seems a bit too much of a hunk to play a scrawny 21-year-old soldier. I was trying to picture them in these roles while I was reading the book and I just couldn't do it.

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