Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Genre and Literary

Second go-through of a much-beloved genre novel is interestingly disappointing to me. My first reading, I could not slow down, I yearned to get back to it, woke in the morning thinking of it. This time, since I know how so much of the story comes out, the devices are more obvious, and sometimes creaky. Is it just that I know which characters will die? I notice interesting threads that seem to have been dropped.

This may be what it means to be a really tremendous writer of story and narrative: everything in the end is in service of momentum, so there is less available for the second reading. This, then, a tentative definition for literary: that there is still plenty there when you read it a second time.

No comments: