TPAOL Question #22 ~ Writing Style

by James Meek

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Unread postby Liz » Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:12 am

nebraska wrote: I do remember dreading this book, thinking it would be a difficult read, and being surprised by how lyrical and descriptive the writing was! I remember emailing another ONBC member about my absolute delight in the writing style ...... I should not have been surprised, with just one or two (my personal taste) exceptions, Johnny seems to be drawn to books that are exquisitely beautiful in their words and sentences and paragraphs. Artwork with words. And I have come to the conclusion that I would read anything he recommended or found interesting enough to read himself.

I would agree that JD pics books that are written beautifully. :cool:
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Unread postby Red Shoes » Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:13 am

His style is very character-centric. Not even necessarily in the descriptions of the characters but in the fleshing out and examining of their actions and backgrounds. I really like it because I love feeling like I know a character really well.

The journalism thing is interesting and I agree that it probably impacts the way he describes places and times - in such a compelling sympathetic way that makes you feel you're right there watching.

I do remember dreading this book, thinking it would be a difficult read, and being surprised by how lyrical and descriptive the writing was!

I felt that way too, Nebraska! I was worried that I would find it tedious and hard to "get into" but I "got into" it right away and was fascinated by the characters right from the start. It was a compelling read.

I don't really know how to better describe what I'm talking about, so I hope someone else noticed this too and can help me out with some better words.

Refreshing, perhaps?
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Unread postby suec » Sat Feb 24, 2007 6:58 am

I loved his style. I loved the sensual descriptions, and the way that he focuses on tiny details, very economically. It is as though he doesn't paint the whole picture, just tiny parts. It must be a real gift to the film-making process. Just the detail, for instance, of Samarin's black fingernails holding the white frame of Anna's picture so as not to smudge it. Or the sound of the footsteps in the tunnel, or the shaman's voice: "a throat roughened by age, illness and alcohol". In his whisper was the bare trace of a voice, like the last redness in the ashes of a fire". I like the patterns of language too: references to eyes throughout the book, and black and white, for instance. Glue that holds it together and which is thought-provoking too. I enjoyed the humour too. But I think my favourite section is the account of the Czech legion. Simple and moving, elegiac.
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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:21 am

I also enjoyed how he gave the reader clues, foreshadowing really, about events or characters. Of course I didn't realize much of it as I read, only after I finished and I know I missed many!
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