Don't be fooled by the grim-faced picture. It was the only unblinking one. For me, words are worth a thousand pictures. I'm looking forward to saying hi to all of you.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Role of the Narrator

Rereading John Irving's coming of age quirky, darkly comic novel, A Prayer for Owen Meany, quirky, I'm reminded that a narrator can't just tell you about another character. He has to tell you about himself, why he's bound to this other character, what he can learn from him, what is the link, the obsession. John Wheelright's best friend, Owen Meany, a dwarf with impaired vocal chords vocal chords, just happens to kill John's mother, but remains John's friend. If we only heard about Owen, the novel would fall flat. Think of Nick in The Great Gatsby. If we didn't know that Nick was from West Egg and trying to climb his way up in the financial and social world that Gatsby appears to be part of, The Great Gatsby not only wouldn't be a classic. It might never have gotten published.

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