Sunday, 3 February 2013

Books and books

Now the literary beauty. There is a beauty in novels and in writing in general that I find incomparable. It is not a visual thing, per se, but a thing of the mind. I can no more describe what happens when I read than I can write a shower but I do know that both the shower and the reading are immersive experiences when they are beautiful and are as life affirming as anything else that I know.
If you haven't, read this. Or see the
film, both work.
Would you like to know more?

I submit to you the novel K-PAX as a good example of this. It is a wonderful piece of literature, in the populist sense, that tells a story and weaves it so well that you end up living the novel rather than simply reading it. I can recall putting it down and wondering what the characters were doing in the moments when I was not reading about their lives. I can remember how it completely changed the way I was interacting with the people around me because in the back of my mind I was living as if the whole thing was completely real and ongoing when I got home. I didn't read the book, I took holidays from the world it invoked when I went to work.

The film is also very good, though much of the uncertainty of the first book is lost in the retelling, despite obvious efforts to get it to remain. I liked the whole trilogy too, there was something engaging about the way that they were written and about the characters that were built through them that kept me going and meant that I read the whole trilogy as a single book without losing anything about each component part. They are less a mystery as they are works of just, well, literary beauty. Regardless of the reality in which we live they are escapism at its best, and they are semi-thought provoking.

The cover is beautiful too. Haunted
me for months.
This was much the same sensation that I had when I was reading The Time Traveller's Wife too. Here the language that was employed did the trick of making me want to keep reading and did so in such a way as to bring home to me the power of the story and the rawness of the emotions contained within. Its non-linear approach and the ability to drop me into the plot wherever it wanted made me respect it. This was a novel I even read aloud and I don't really do reading aloud (well, I do now, with my children, but I never really did before). It was a novel that stood the test of being read aloud and stood the test of me being the one doing it. For these reasons they would be considered beautiful but there was so much more to them that I simply fail at describing.

There was the story itself that was saved from much of the cliche that dogs the romance genre by the cleverness of the editing and the conceit of the central concept. It was a plot that you could literally read in any given order, given the fact that it was based on time travel. And, yes, I loved the fact that it worked as a completely non-linear novel without too much extra work on the part of the author. It is a literary equivalent to Memento in that the way that it is presenting does most of the work to make it worthwhile. Had either story been told how it was originally created and written then they would fail.

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