What We’re Reading in… March

psycho film psycho

Back in 1959, Robert Hale published Bloch’s psychological thriller Psycho, which was quickly snapped up by Alfred Hitchcock and made into a film the following year.


What are our favourite book-to-film stories at Robert Hale? 

 

Sarah, Marketing and Publicity Manager:
My favourite is Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Trumabreakfast at tiffanys filmn Capote (Penguin Classics). The first half of the film follows the book very closely, albeit set in a different decade, and much of the early dialogue is almost word-for-word, but of course the film was given an ending much better suited to Hollywood audiences than that in the book.
TRUMAN_CAPOTE_Breakfast_at_Tiffanys_2009
The film certainly deserves its spot among the classics, but it’s a shame that the book is often overlooked. Truman Capote’s writing is so captivating, and the story is the ideal anti-fairytale for twentieth-century American life. And who doesn’t identify just a little with Holly Golightly’s desire for self-reinvention?

 

 

 

Esther, Editorial Controller:
They always say the book is better than the film, and in this case it is true. Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin (Serpent’s Tail) somehow seems far more shocking in print; Eva’s narrative in the form of letters to her estrangkevin filmed husband, post Kevin’s organised mass-shooting at his school, shows how she’s suffering as a consequence of his actions. The fact that she jumps back in time through her letters, chronicling Kevin’s sixteen year existence, suggests she’s been suffering the entire time. Straight from the letters, there are unknown truths, long-hidden secrets and twists.kevin book

The film itself, compared to the book, seemed quite tame. With books, we imagine how the action plays out but when it comes to the film, it’s often very different. While the adaptation stays relatively faithful to the book, the pace was slow, it had an eerie quietness to it and the most brutal scenes felt a bit anti-climactic. Lynne Ramsay (director) probably was right to censor most of it; after all, it is horrendous to talk about.

 

 

Gill, Managing Director:
I suppose like all avid readers, film adaptations of much loved books are often a disappointment. The adaptations of Jane Austen’s books are for the most part no exception, but one film in particular is very well done. 

Persuasion (Vintage Classics) waspersuasion-1995 produced for television in the first instance by the BBC and then put on general release. Although it differs from the book in subtle respects, the performance of Amanda Root as Anne Elliot has never been bettered, and she inhabits the character completely. I fell out with the casting of Ciaran Hinds as Wentworth but then, every Janeite has their own vision of what their heroes should look like, but he has, over time, also persuaded me of his claim to the role.

The book is my favourite Austen and read every year or so in the original edition my aunt gave me as a girl. Pride and Prejudice had me hooked from the age of nine (again as persuasiona result of a gift from my prescient aunt) but Persuasion is the ‘adult’ Austen to which I turn when in need of comfort in both book and on film.

Hale’s series on Jane Austen continues her wonderful legacy. Adding to great contributions by Maggie Lane and Hazel Jones on ageing and travel in Austen’s books, Hale are publishing a new book by Stephen Mahoney in the autumn on wealth and poverty.

 


Isobel, Marketing and Publicity Assistant:
Ifight club book think Fight Club (Vintage) is a good example Fight-ClubMovie-Still2CRof a
book-to-film success story. Both book and film hold their own, but also complement one another. While it’s a lot to do with great script and actors, I think the subject matter – of crazy insomniacs and manic addictions – helps out too.
 The story is a fragmented, schizophrenic narrative which moves all over the place and works really well in book or film setting.

half yellow sunOn the other hand, one of my favourite books, Half of a Yellow Sun by  (4th Estate), was recently adapted until a film. Even though the two leads – Chiwetel Ejiofor and Thandie Newton – are very good actors and the author has endorsed the project, I’ve resisted going to see it just in case it disappoints. I think there are some books for each person where its better to preserve the characters as you imagined them when reading the story.


OUT NOW: Psycho by Robert Bloch

Psycho by Robert BlochRobert Albert Bloch (1917–1994) was a prolific and celebrated writer of crime, horror and science fiction. In 1989 he was the recipient of a Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement, which is presented periodically to an individual whose work has substantially influenced the horror genre. Psycho was Bloch’s most famous work, and it was on this chilling novel that the classic film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock was based.

Psycho by Robert Bloch Synopsis

She was a fugitive, lost in a storm. That was when she saw the sign: motel – vacancy. The sign was unlit, the motel dark. She switched off the engine, and sat thinking, alone and frightened. She had nobody. The stolen money wouldn’t help her, and Sam couldn’t either, because she had taken the wrong turning; she was on a strange road. There was nothing she could do now – she had made her grave and she’d have to lie in it.

She froze. Where had that come from? Grave. It was bed, not grave. She shivered in the cold car, surrounded by shadows. Then, without a sound, a dark shape emerged from the blackness and the car door opened.

Psycho is not a tale for queasy stomachs or faint hearts. It is filled with horrifying suspense and the climax, instead of being a relief, will hit the reader with bone-shattering force.

‘More chillingly effective than any writer might reasonably be expected to be.’ – New York Times

‘A terribly chilling tale’  – Publishers Weekly

‘Adroit and blood-curdling’  – New York Tribune

The novel that inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho

Psycho by Robert Bloch is available to buy now in paperback with a limited time only discount of 30%.

Psycho by Robert Bloch

The Legend of Psycho Continues with New Film

In 1959, Robert Hale Ltd published Psycho by Robert Bloch. Bloch himself won the prestigious SF Hugo award in the same year. The psychological horror followed Marion Crane as she stole money from her boss and fled to a motel and encountered the brilliantly creepy Norman Bates, who ran the now infamous Bates Motel. Bloch would later follow up Psycho with Psycho II and Psycho House, as well as numerous other books.

In 1960, only one year after Psycho was first published, Director Alfred Hitchcock released one of the most popular and successful films of his career – the film adaptation of Psycho. The film, which starred Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh and Vera Miles, shocked audiences the world over and went on to gross an estimated $50 million worldwide.

The film spawned a remake in 1998 starring Vince Vaughn, Anne Heche and Julianne Moore and numerous sequels including Psycho II (1983), Psycho III (1986) and Psycho IV: The Beginning (1990).

Now, it seems, a new film has begun to take form in Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho – a film, as the title suggests, about what went into making the 1960 adaptation and Hitchcock’s struggle to get funding for the picture. So far, Anthony Hopkins has been cast as Alfred Hitchcock, Helen Mirren as his wife Alma Reville, Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh and James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins. Jessica Biel has recently been added to the cast list and is set to play Vera Miles. The film is rumoured to be released in 2013.More than fifty years after its initial release, people are still talking about Psychoa book The New York Times called “Icily terrifying”. Who knows what it will have become in another fifty years…

Source: Collider

Welcome from Robert Hale Ltd Managing Director, Gill Jackson

Welcome to all book lovers, our established authors, would-be authors, and those just interested in the world of publishing, to our new Robert Hale Ltd blog.

Robert Hale Ltd is a small, independent, family-owned publishing company and has been in business for over seventy-five years. In that time we have issued novels here by some notable authors, not least amongst them Berthold Brecht, Robert Goddard’s very first book  Past Caring, Harold Robbins, Robert Bloch’s Psycho,Wendy Perriam, E.V. Thompson and, of course, Jean Plaidy. We are adding to our list of new books every year and trust that this blog will bring to your attention stories to please you and new authors whose names will, I hope, rise to the same heights as those of the writers just mentioned. Our wide-ranging non-fiction lists of general books, horological and jewellery books, and the country’s foremost equestrian list of J A Allen, are second to none and contain something to interest and please every reader.

If you are looking at our blog then I imagine you are as passionate about books in all forms as I am. Thank you for reading thus far and enjoy the rest of the blog.

Gill Jackson

Managing Director