Sunday, April 22, 2007


Yesterday and today, it has been raining. Not a huge amount, but enough so that when I went for a walk today, people's lawns and gardens looked thoroughly soaked. And the birds and butterflies were going berserk! I'm used to going up the bush and having butterflies drift around me or rise up from in front of me as I walk. Not so much in the city.
Yesterday, in the bush, before it rained, all we saw/heard were two kookaburras. But there's been some earlier rain up there because where we've cleared away some dead bracken, green things are growing!
Finished Jonathan Kellerman's new book "Obsession" while sitting under the gum tree. It's good - I liked how the villain developed, how the story started as a possible crime and grew into something so much worse. But this book did a lot of what the last one did - characters sitting around talking the investigation out. I enjoy the actual investigating and questioning of the minor characters so much more. Kellerman has some great minor villains in this book, including a nose-picking sleazy PI and a tattooed guy who is a health nut.
It's easy to become so involved with your protagonist and antagonist that you forget about the other characters and they end up being one-dimensional. On the other hand, some writing books warn you against minor characters that are too colourful because they can take over the story. After reading Kellerman, I vote for the colour and variety - they can add extra layers to the plot and the theme and make the story so much richer.
I'm now back reading "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer. I've kept at this book because it's written in such an interesting way (also has pictures and graphics) but I'm at the point right now where the dialogue is giving me the irrits. He doesn't use paragraphing for a lot of it, so there are long blocks of short dialogue with "" all jammed in together. Example (main character talking to Grandma on walkie-talkie): "Are you home? Over." "Yes. Over." "Have you had dinner? Over." "Not yet. Over." "Where is your mom? Over." "Don't know. Over."
OK, so I actually made up that dialogue but that's how it reads on the page. And it goes on and on, and a lot of it is of the "please pass the butter" variety. I'm waiting to see if this has any other purpose than saving pages.
My friend G listened to this book as an audio, so I will ask her how it came across without the speech marks and jamming together. Probably a very different experience.

1 comment:

Tracey said...

Yes, seeing as the switch from double quotes to single has been justified by how many pages are saved -- don't let the publishers get wind of this as the new way to save space. You see it sometimes when someone's remembering a conversation, but if the whole book were like that I think I'd throw it against the wall. I wouldn't buy it if I browsed through and noticed that.