Chocolat Question #12 - Writing Style

by Joanne Harris

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Chocolat Question #12 - Writing Style

Unread postby Liz » Sat Jun 10, 2006 12:08 pm

What do you think of Joanne’s writing style?
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Jun 10, 2006 12:23 pm

I find it very absorbing. She has a true gift for description and draws you in with her stories.

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Unread postby Peachy » Sat Jun 10, 2006 12:41 pm

I loved Chocolat and I thought Joanne had a lovely flair for telling a story, hitting a good balance between description and action/dialogue. I also really enjoyed her character development.
However, I then read Blackberry wine and just couldn't get into it - I don't know why.
By the way I read Chocolat when it first came out, so I wasn't in any way influenced by the film. So I can't explain why I reacted so differently to two books by the same author.
Since then I haven't read any of her other books.
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Unread postby Gilbert's Girl » Sat Jun 10, 2006 1:00 pm

Peachy wrote:I loved Chocolat and I thought Joanne had a lovely flair for telling a story, hitting a good balance between description and action/dialogue. I also really enjoyed her character development.
However, I then read Blackberry wine and just couldn't get into it - I don't know why.
By the way I read Chocolat when it first came out, so I wasn't in any way influenced by the film. So I can't explain why I reacted so differently to two books by the same author.
Since then I haven't read any of her other books.


Isn't that funny. I read Blackberry Wine last summer and thought it was really good,then tried to read Chocolat and couldn't. But then I read it again for the discussion and enjoyed it much better

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Unread postby Peachy » Sat Jun 10, 2006 1:04 pm

GG wrote:
Isn't that funny. I read Blackberry Wine last summer and thought it was really good,then tried to read Chocolat and couldn't. But then I read it again for the discussion and enjoyed it much better


Yes - it is funny - also, a friend of mine recommended Blackberry wine and she said "if you liked Chocolat, you'll love this". I guess I ought to dig it out of the cupboard and give it another shot.
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Unread postby Endora » Sat Jun 10, 2006 1:43 pm

I felt that her descriptions lacked sublety. She was far too keen to use the food/sensory analogy to back up her hedonism v self denial theme and her wind theme for V.. It's as if she had gone to a writing class and had been told "carry your theme across in the metaphors you use, keep a theme for each character" and she's been determined to do just that. To m e at least, it appeared predictable and heavy handed.

On the plus side, I liked the two first person narratives as a device, and that she didn't introduce them with anything, rather just let you find out who was narrating.
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Unread postby es » Sat Jun 10, 2006 1:55 pm

I also like Endora loved the 2 people naratting,its very funny how you read something totally different when you relise that the other person is "telling " it.

further I really liked the writting,its easy to read and still few layered.
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Unread postby Liz » Sat Jun 10, 2006 5:40 pm

I, too, liked the 2 person narrative as a device. It was interesting to view the story through the 2 opposing points of view.

I very much liked her style of writing. I thought it was clever and very sensuous. She has a way of allowing you to feel the story through her descriptions.
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Unread postby Raven » Sat Jun 10, 2006 6:10 pm

I liked her writing style, and felt she was painting a picture for me. Not just describing a scene or action. I felt she gave me a good feel of the characters motivations and desires, without going on for paragraphs like one author I know.

I liked the food analogy, as it was the theme of the book,and I believe most people can relate, as we must eat something everyday, well unless it is lent of course (just kidding).
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Unread postby gilly » Sat Jun 10, 2006 9:05 pm

She was very easy to read and I like how she interposed stories from the past that reflected on the present..I too liked hearing the story from different points of view..a technique that doesn't always work and sometimes is clumsily handled...But I never felt that with Joanne..I thought the whole story flowed easily..
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Unread postby luvdepp » Sun Jun 11, 2006 2:15 pm

Liz wrote:I, too, liked the 2 person narrative as a device. It was interesting to view the story through the 2 opposing points of view.

I very much liked her style of writing. I thought it was clever and very sensuous. She has a way of allowing you to feel the story through her descriptions.


I agree Liz. Her writing struck me as very sensual too. And I liked how you were able to see things from two opposing points of view.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:47 pm

Nothing to add but to say I agree with you all. I think the two character narrative played out very well with the personalities and the opposite characteristics they represented. I also felt like I could picture the locations in my mind. Very descriptive and colorful. :cool:
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Unread postby nebraska » Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:44 am

I am finally about 2/3 of the way through the book -- real life has just gotten in my way with this one and now I am back to reading a text book! but I am going to finish Chocolat even if I don't get to participate much in the discussion because I am loving it. I find Ms Harris's writing easy to read, very pleasant, and also very clever as she gives away just a little information here and there, enough to keep me wanting more. Some of the descriptive passages are just lovely. I like the way she is giving us a look into both Vianne and Reynaud's souls......at times it is a little confusing, I have to read a paragraph or so before I know which one is speaking....it just dawned on me that perhaps is the point, that under it all they are more alike than they are different. In my mind I see the characters from the movie while I read, except with Roux.....he has a different flavor than Johnny's Roux, and I have a different mental image of him. I am not sure how much my movie experience is influencing my pleasure in the book.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:56 am

nebraska wrote:I am finally about 2/3 of the way through the book -- real life has just gotten in my way with this one and now I am back to reading a text book! but I am going to finish Chocolat even if I don't get to participate much in the discussion because I am loving it. I find Ms Harris's writing easy to read, very pleasant, and also very clever as she gives away just a little information here and there, enough to keep me wanting more. Some of the descriptive passages are just lovely. I like the way she is giving us a look into both Vianne and Reynaud's souls......at times it is a little confusing, I have to read a paragraph or so before I know which one is speaking....it just dawned on me that perhaps is the point, that under it all they are more alike than they are different. In my mind I see the characters from the movie while I read, except with Roux.....he has a different flavor than Johnny's Roux, and I have a different mental image of him. I am not sure how much my movie experience is influencing my pleasure in the book.


Hi nebraska! :wave: Glad you could jump in! I agree with you about Joanne's style and how she developed Vianne and Reynaud and gave us little glimpses at a time. If you have a favorite passage you can post it on today's question. Keep thinking about the differences between the book and the movie and Johnny/Roux vs. Book/Roux. We will be discussing those very things towards the end of our discussion! :cool:
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

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