Morvern-Callar-Allan-Warner-Book-CoverI was a big fan of Lynne Ramsay’s brilliant film Morvern Callar before I even realized it was a novel first. I loved Samantha Morton’s performance and the film’s narrative style and soundtrack were big influences on my own approach to screenwriting. It’s often difficult for me to read a book with fresh eyes after the film version has made such a big impression but in this case I’m glad that I did. I can’t deny that the images from the film played a part in imagining these scenes and at times they could be a distraction but Warner’s writing did an excellent job of creating a distinct voice for his unlikely heroine. I found it similar to Trainspotting, not only because it was set in Scotland, but because he was able to recreate a very believable community with its own nicknames, sense of place and slang. Among my favorites were mortal (or sometimes even mortal as newts) for drunk or rampant for horny. He doesn’t shy away from drugs and sex and handles the impressions during some of Morvern’s drink and drug-fueled adventures particularly well. It was actually a New York Times piece with author Rachel Kushner that pushed me to pick this up and I also enjoyed thinking about how it might have influenced her work. In the end, I still prefer the film to the book but have no problem recommending both.

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