Thursday, July 24, 2008

Double Fault and Midori By Moonlight

I've just finished Lionel Shriver's “Double Fault” (also by the author are two of my favourite books: “We need to talk about Kevin” and “Post birthday world”). Ostensibly about tennis, “Double Fault” centres on the sense of competition between husband and wife, and on the myriad of ways in which our loved ones hurt us. It’s depressing. It’s thought-provoking. It’s beautiful.

In contract to that is chick lit "Midori By Moonlight". The protagonist is a Japanese woman in USA. Freshly out of her native country, Midori adores all things Western and she’ll do anything not to have to go back to Japan. I get enchanted by things Japanese, and this book is a useful reminder about how oppressive their society actually is. A quick light read.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

the most interesting and funny interview we've done

Please check out my latest interview on www.LorieHam.com/walus.html.

(This from Lori: "My web guy said it's the most interesting and funny interview we've done.")

Friday, July 04, 2008

The art of telling (Tell, Don’t Show)

I know, I know, it’s usually “Show, Don’t Tell”. But sometimes you have to tell. Sometimes you have to summarise. Sometimes a well-placed adjective is worth more than a page of boring dialogue.

The art of exposition or sequence or telling (different masters have a different name for it) is a tricky one. Perhaps you just have to be born with the talent, with an inner ear for what makes good text. Or perhaps you can learn it.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to lie on my bed listening to audio books (long story cut short in a form of telling: a nasty fall, a nasty lump on shin, doctor’s orders to elevate the leg or face surgery). One of the books was Ruth Rendell’s “Rottweiler” (about a serial killer), the other “Good Omens” by Pratchett&Gaiman (and if you need to be told it’s about Armageddon, than you haven’t really lived).

I alternated listening to the two. Mostly because “Good Omens” I’ve read several times before, so I could tear myself away from it, and also because the “Rottweiler” was boring.

At first I thought it was because the “Rottweiler” was “tell”, while “Good Omens” was “show”. But no, there is a lot of “tell” in “Good Omens”... about as much as there is “show” in the “Rottweiler”. It’s just that Pratchett&Gaiman know which bits to tell.
It’s as simple as that.