Books prime for adaptation – Alys Always

Note: this post may contain spoilers

Many audiences still struggle to watch an entirely unsympathetic female character. Watching a male character who is without care or regret is, interestingly, eminently more palatable for the cinema-going public.  Arguably, these reasons may lie in the defined gender roles that still dominate. Regardless, the fact still remains that most people simply don’t seem to like viewing a film in which the protagonist, particularly a female protagonist, is manipulative and calculating.  With the success of Gone Girl, Fincher’s glossy adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s utterly enjoyable thriller, we may perhaps, witness an increasing focus on depicting such a character.

Harriet Lane’s Alys Always features a character that, whilst certainly not so devastating in her machinations, manages to insidiously insert herself into another’s life. The first person narration details a woman in her mid thirties, who one night, stumbles across a car accident. Comforting the dying woman in her final moments, she is later asked to discuss with the bereaved family what she had witnessed. Learning that the bereaved widow is a respected writer, she begins to put a plan into action that until complete, remains obscured to the reader.

Why adapt?

  1. The story itself, with its range of characters, is utterly engaging: their multiple interactions would create a number of tense, absorbing set pieces.
  2. The first person narration could easily be utilised onscreen without losing any of Lane’s wonderful prose.
  3. The notion of an unreliable narrator would make interesting viewing in the right hands.
  4. The protagonist is a strong enough presence that a screenwriter could retain particular elements and create their own vision.
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