December 3, 2023

10 of the Best Book Adaptations in 2017

Reading | © Sam Greenhalgh/ Flickr
Reading | © Sam Greenhalgh/ Flickr
There’s something delicious about reading a book before it reaches the screen. You can watch with a smug smile, whispering just loud enough for everyone to hear that the main character is exactly as you’d pictured them. This year we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to literary adaptations – from gritty, Norwegian crime thrillers and unconventional coming-of-age tales to star-studded whodunnits. We’ve picked out the best ones, so you can get a head start on your reading…

The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes
You’ll have to hurry to read this Booker Prize-winner before you see the adaptation, as it’s already reached the big screen. Luckily it’s a novella so you can devour it in one sitting, and then head to the cinema in the evening. Written by literary heavyweight Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending is a touching meditation on ageing, memory and regret. Jim Broadbent features (alongside Charlotte Rampling) as the middle-aged divorcee whose past turns up to haunt him in the form of a mysterious letter he once sent.
Read it by: 20 April

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier
Rachel Weisz seems to have a knack for picking out interesting lead roles. Next up, she’s appearing in an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s 1951 novel: a mystery romance set in Cornwall. When her new husband dies suddenly, his cousin Philip (Sam Caflin) suspects Rachel of having a hand in it. But his plot to exact revenge is complicated when he meets the beautiful, enigmatic Rachel and falls under her spell. This is sure to be a hit with die-hard fans of Rebecca.
Read it by: 14 July

Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach
Deborah Moggach’s best known novel is a love letter to Dutch painting (so expect dreamy interior shots and moody, dramatic lighting). Set against the backdrop of ‘tulip mania’ in 17th-century Holland, it tells the story of an artist who falls for a young married woman when he’s commissioned to paint her portrait by her husband. Adapted by Tom Stoppard, the film will star Alicia Vikander, Judy Dench and Christopher Waltz.
Read it by: 25 August

Victoria And Abdul: The True Story Of The Queen’s Closet Confidant by Shrabani Basu
Judi Dench is set to reprise her role as Queen Victoria this year. Based on Shrabani Basu’s book, Victoria and Abdul will tell the story of the unlikely but devoted friendship between the Empress of India and her handsome young courtier, Abdul Karim – a relationship that caused a near-revolt in the royal household. Dench is reunited with director Stephen Frears for this film – their third together.
Read it by: 22 September

The Snowman by Jo Nesbo
Jo Nesbo was a footballer, musician and stockbroker before he turned his hand to writing. Now one of the most successful crime authors in the world, he’s penned 11 novels in the Harry Hole series. This autumn the seventh of these will hit the cinema, with Michael Fassbender as the brilliant but unorthodox detective. The story opens with a missing mother whose favourite pink scarf is found outside, wrapped around the neck of a snowman. But once Harry starts investigating, he begins to suspect that there may be a serial killer at large on his home turf.
Read it by: 13 October

Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Everyone loves an Agatha Christie and this star-studded affair isn’t likely to disappoint. In one of her most ingenious whodunnits, a luxurious train ride through Europe turns into a thrilling mystery when someone is murdered. With 13 strangers stranded on board, it’s up to the diminutive Poirot to unlock the puzzle before the murderer strikes again – and the authorities arrive. Kenneth Branagh directs and bags himself the star turn as the moustachioed Belgian detective. Also on board the celeb train are Penelope Cruz, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer and Daisy Ridley.
Read it by: 22 November

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
The ‘Glass Castle’ of Jeannette Walls’ bestselling memoir gets its name from the dream house her alcoholic father Rex promised to build his family. Born into a clan of chaotic, artistic nomads, Walls turned her unconventional childhood into a gripping coming-of-age tale. The film will provide a weighty role for Brie Larson as Walls, with stellar support from Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson.
Read it by: Late 2017

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
Ian McEwan is no stranger to an adaptation; several of his novels, including Atonement and Enduring Love, have been turned into critically acclaimed films. Now his Booker-shortlisted novella, On Chesil Beach, is getting the big screen treatment. Set in July 1962 – a few years before the summer of love exploded – it follows a young couple on honeymoon in Dorset. McEwan explores the innocent pair’s fears about their wedding night in minute detail – shining a light on a still buttoned-up English society. Saoirse Ronan, Oscar-nominated for her role in Atonement, stars as Florence.
Read it by: Late 2017

Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple
When eccentric ex-architect and recluse Bernadette Fox goes missing, her 15-year-old daughter delves into her emails in an attempt to find her. Witty, quirky and heartbreaking, Maria Semple’s novel explores the intense bond between a mother and daughter, and one woman’s retreat from the world. This summer, director Richard Linklater takes the helm of the film version. He’s teaming up with Cate Blanchett, who’s set to play Bernadette alongside Kristen Wiig as uptight neighbour, Audrey.
Read it by: Late 2017

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
In 2014, Jessie Burton’s debut novel took the literary world by storm. Inspired by Petronella Oortman’s dollhouse in the Rijksmuseum, it’s a beguiling historical tale of love and obsession, betrayal and revenge, appearance and truth. In the upcoming three-part BBC adaptation (by the production company behind Wolf Hall), Anya Taylor-Joy will play the central role of Nella, the young wife of a wealthy Dutch merchant. When she’s presented with a miniature replica of their home as a wedding gift, she begins to realise that the tiny creation can predict the future with disturbing accuracy.
Read it by: Late 2017

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