Some theatre each day keeps the doctor away…


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The following occurred to me today: suspense in, say, a novel, comes through the withholding of a viewpoint.  Or rather, mystery, does  There is still the suspense that comes from a full knowledge of events, though – namely, when the outcome of something is in doubt, such as a fight between two characters.

Something like that, anyway.  The theory’s a bit rough, and I’m not explaining it very well either.

An example: a treasure hunt between three characters.  Show each character achieving various goals, and you have no mystery.  Show only two characters doing this, and show these two encountering the effects that the third character is having (such as having taken a certain piece of treasure first, before the other two found it), and suddenly you have mystery/suspense.

This occurs quite often in the novel I am reading, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.  It’s interesting how it happens, as well, because it’s not just a case of completely eliminating a character – that isn’t how this novel works, to be honest – but rather it’s to do with with what perspective the scene is played from, such that we may have a fair idea what the non-perspective character is up to, but we’re not entirely sure, and so we’re left wondering.

Speaking of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – I finished reading it just now, at 2:07am.  What a wonderful read it was.  I eagerly await the author’s next book – apparently she is setting it in the same world, but a few years later.

While it would never be a book I’d take to a desert island (though in the afterglow of my immense enjoyment of it, I begin to wonder if maybe…  But I doubt I’d be thinking that way a few days from now), it certainly is a book I think will last for quite some time to come.  Something one would give to your children to read along with Lord of the Rings, etc.

Bought some books today: Don Juan by Byron, Arabian Nights Volume 2, Arabian Nights Volume 3 (the Lyons translation), The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford, and The Aeneid by Virgil (with a little bit of help from Robert Fagles).  $35 all up.  Not too shabby.  As for the Van Gogh Letters – I’ve received nothing more.  Looks like I’m going to have to contact Fishpond to see what they might be able to do, though I doubt they’ll be able to do much.  Sigh.


Written by epistemysics

September 12, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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