August 4, 2012

The elusive Albert Nobbs

Last night I saw a fantastic film, Albert Nobbs, starring the spectacular, perfectly cast Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska and Aaron Johnston. I would love to tell you how the film compares to its original, the novella The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs by George Moore, but I have not as yet been lucky enough to acquire a copy.

The Irish novelist George Augustus Moore first published The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs in 1918, within the collection A Story-Teller’s Holiday. The story was also republished in 1927 in the collection Celibate Lives.

Armed with this useful Intel, this morning I sauntered up to the counter of my local Dymocks and requested to order an unstocked title. To be honest, I half expected a copy to be magically produced in-store (when a film adaptation is released, publishers are usually quick to capitalise), but unfortunately, I was disappointed.

Not only did Dymocks not have a movie tie-in version on the shelves, its database was curiously empty of any title even slightly “Albert Nobbs” related.

I tried the iBook bookstore on my phone (I always prefer to hold a bound, paper version in my hands but, as it is only a novella, I thought I could handle the brief displeasure of reading from a 5x7cm 480x320 pixels screen), but it too produced unsatisfactory results. I downloaded the ‘sample’ versions of three George Moore collections – A Modern Lover, Celibates [Three Tales], and Celibates – only to find that none contained 'The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs'.

Arriving home, I remembered my 10.5 unused points on trusty Book Mooch. Five versions of the book were listed, but no copies were available. Finally, I turned to Amazon UK – and finally, some results.

For the Australian equivalent of $21.85, including postage, I have now secured my copy of the elusive Albert Nobbs story. Going by Amazon’s prediction, it should arrive on my doorstep in 8-12 business days.

And so, alas, this particular review will have to wait. In the meantime, I am also reading Bel Ami by Guy De Maupassant and Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. The film adaptation of Bel Ami is scheduled for DVD release in Australia on September 26, so expect a review shortly after. Anna Karenina, the lavish looking film adaptation that is once again reuniting Keira Knightley and Joe Wright, is scheduled for cinema release in January 2013.

I would be very happy to receive your comments and feedback on ‘Book or Big Screen’ – please click on the below link to tell me what film adaptation you are excited about, or to suggest the book/film that I should review next.


  1. This was a disturbing and sad film, for me at least. It was very ambiguous in its purpose, so I couldn't figure out if it was simply about utter loneliness and despair, sexual repression, or lesbianism.

  2. I think it was a little of all of the above, Charity. It certainly was, at times, a very sad and uncomfortable film - but for me, it seemed to mostly be about the importance of establishing real human connections... Albert Nobbs lived such a private, hidden, secret life; the real tragedy was that he/she was never able to truly love, or be loved.