What’s in a Novel?

Most people, left to their own devices, think not in clichés but with originality and brilliance; that most individual voices, once heard, turn out to be voices of beauty and wisdom.

Photo taken by Alfons Morales.

I think we all agree that a novel is nothing if it is not the expression of an individual voice, of a single view of experience — and how many of the good or even interesting novels, of the thousands published appear each year? Joan Didion (I Can’t Get That Monster Out of My Mind – 1964)

11 Replies to “What’s in a Novel?”

  1. I would like to read that review. The only thing other than a short article that I have ever read by Joan Didion is “White Album,” which I think was named after a Beatles album, but which was largely about her experiences with migraine (and I think I’ve mentioned it to you before, too. Sorry to be repetitive). I’d like to read more of her.

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    1. There is a review coming soon, when time permits. Slouching Towards Bethlehem is the book from which I took this quote, which (spoiler alert) I found interesting in message but a lot of the people she met seemed dull. After this long stretch of fifty hours p/w is over normal service will be resumed.

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    1. I am finding quite a lot of good quotes recently, it’s good to be able to get a post out with such minimal work at the same time. The time to get anything of substance finished is not on the horizon for a few weeks yet.

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  2. Ste J, I will look out for your review of her book – sounds fascinating! I do agree that a novel has to have a voice, as she says “the expression of an individual voice, of a single view of experience”. Why else write if you are going to sound like everyone/someone else?! Now, finding, daring to express that voice is another matter!

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    1. The review is upcoming, although with 309 other drafts to finish as well, it could be a while. I will try and get to it the week after next as work will calm down a bit and I will get a bit more time to finish the many reviews that I wish to share. I may have a nap as well to reward myself for being a generally amazing, and yet really humble, human being.

      Liked by 1 person

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