It’s Sant Jordi’s Day again, and what could make a better gift recommendation than one of the novels soon to appear on our screens as series. So, why not get ahead of the posse and bury yourself between the pages of these tales streaming platforms will be laying the money on.
Underground Railroad. A young slave decides to flee the misery of her life on a cotton plantation shortly before the American Civil War. Her escape route: the underground railroad, a network of secret rail routes and safe houses that became a vital lifeline for African Americans assisted by abolitionists in solidarity with their search for freedom during slavery. The historical novel by Colson Whitehead, will soon be available as a limited series directed by best picture Oscar award-winner Barry Jenkins (Moonlight, 2016) starring the powerful performer, Thuso Mbedu.
Title: The Underground Railroad, Doubleday.
The Shining Girls. Actress Elisabeth Moss heads up the cast in this screen adaptation of the Lauren Beukes novel that tells the story of a drifter who finds the key to a house that opens the door to time travel but, to continue traveling, he has to stalk and kill bright young women, burning with potential who he refers to as “the shining girls”. Murdering these brilliant young women enables him to satisfy his murderous instincts and continue his travels. But nobody understands the connection between the crimes other until one of his potential victims survives the attempt on her life and sets out to hunt down her attacker, as she begins to discover the seemingly impossible links.
Title: The Shining Girls, Mulholland Books (US) and HarperCollins (UK).
Conversations with Friends. The huge success of the series “Normal People” has made the Irish author of the novel on which the series is based, Sally Rooney, one of the most coveted names in future television adaptations. This year, we’ll be able to watch the series ‘Conversations with Friends’, which is in fact based on Rooney’s literary debut. In the novel, a 21-year-old college student and aspiring writer, devoted body and soul to a life of the mind alongside her best friend and lover. Behind the adaptation is the same crew from “Normal People”, thereby ensuring a similar tone. Cast members include actress Jemima Kirke, better-known for her role as Jessa in the series ‘Girls’.
Title: Conversations with Friends, Faber & Faber
The Vanishing Half. Two identical twin sisters decide to flee the black community in Louisiana where they grew up and in which the inhabitants, generation-by-generation, make every effort to pass their offspring for white, through encouraging mixed marriages that increasingly lighten the skin color of successive descendants. Brit Bennett, proclaimed by Time magazine as one of the 100 people who will be most influential in the coming years, published the book to rave reviews and within a month HBO won a wild auction sources claim saw 17 bidders vying for the rights. As yet, the cast hasn’t been announced but we do know that Issa Rae has signed on to produce.
Title: The Vanishing Half, Riverhead Books.
Nine Perfect Strangers. Author Liane Moriarty, responsible for “Big Little Lies,” penned the novel on which the HBO series was based. Starring Nicole Kidman, and who also features in the credits as executive producer of the series, is also in front of and behind the cameras on the adaptation of this new novel narrating the story of nine women from very different walks of life, who attend the same mind and body total transformation spiritual retreat run by a mysterious Russian woman. David E. Kelley, also responsible for the adaptation of ‘Big Little Lies’, was named co-writer on the project alongside John-Henry Butterworth.
Title: Nine Perfect Strangers, Flatiron Books.
Doctor Portuondo. Filmin cherry-picked ‘Doctor Portuondo’, the novel by Barcelona-born author Carlo Padial, to become its debut in-house production of a series that has been described as a mixture between autobiography and novel about psychological therapy sessions and the conversations our protagonist indulges in on the couch of a rather peculiar Cuban psychoanalyst. Padial is also on board as series creator and director, with filming already underway in Barcelona. Actor Nacho Sánchez will play the patient and Jorge Perugorría will be Doctor Portuondo in a series of short episodes, jampacked with humor.
Title: Doctor Portuondo, Blackie Books.