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Russian Olive To Red King h/c


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Russian Olive To Red King h/c back

Kathryn Immonen & Stuart Immonen

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Page 45 Review by Stephen

"Just let me know when you're coming home."
"I will. I will always come home."
"I'm counting on it."

He's a tough, muscular guy with a square jaw, chiselled features and cropped white hair. But Red really is counting on it.

He likes being left behind far less that he's letting on.

Why will only become clear during the substantial coda which Red writes for Olive in prose illustrated by photographs of windows smashed in by stones.

And it all seems to start so idyllically, early on the morning before Olive leaves. Light streams into the bedroom in lemon yellow as Olive's Border Collie, Pasha, pads in and considers carefully before bounding onto the bed anyway. What dog could resist?

Jet-haired Olive is the first to surface from underneath the sheets, tentatively at first. It's a quiet, tender scene, beautifully choreographed with body language that says so much, Red reaching out to here with his hand: he really, really doesn't want her to go. He won't say as much, of course, but he's frowning slightly even after Olive's reassuring smiles and enveloping touch.

He promises to walk Olive's dog, but is far from keen.

He's really not as stoical as he seems.

If you were in any doubt after the opening remarks that Olive isn't coming home, there's her flippant reply to this, quoting Chekov.

"Why do you always wear black?"
"Because I'm mourning my life. Duh."
"Okay, Masha. But I don't think Chekov wrote "Duh"."

After that you're just waiting, and as Red walks Pasha down the tranquil, tree-lined, Brownstone avenue, Olive flies away through a cloudless azure sky in a rust-red seaplane piloted by an old man with heartburn.

"Sixty is miles away from fifty-nine, I tell ya."

The scenes are intercut and played out against each other beautifully, two commercial jets streaking the sea-green sky up above Red and Pasha while opposite the silent seaplane banks at a disastrously steep angle. Extraordinarily it is still all so quiet. But then Red remarks, "The light's changing".

Boy, Stuart can control colour and light, and ever so abruptly in places. In places it works on an audible level. The skies are absolutely majestic. He's so versatile, too, adapting his entire style for each project. This really couldn't be much further from SECRET IDENTITY or - at another end of the spectrum - NEXTWAVE. There's a huge sense of heaviness in what follows. Inertia too, as the darkness closes in.

Kathryn completely eschews the obvious far before the stark and startling coda. There's no melodrama. Instead it's all very elliptical, especially the phone conversations.

I'll be interested to hear what you make of the final page of chapter six.

But yes, I think it's safe to say that Red has abandonment issues.

"It's hard to tell when you're blinded by despair."

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