Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Picking The Nits, or ...

I can't see the forest through my denouement ... do I need a machete?

Welcome again to the nits column; here is the mainstream book commentary for the week.
  • The autobiographical essays, interspersed with poetry and meditations, overcomes a haphazard construction and a measure of obscurity through the author’s intuitive control of tone.
  • Although some of [...] denouements are weak, and others overwritten, her prose is mostly tight and her characters well-crafted.
  • The prose and ideas are outstanding; only a handful of poorly thought-out endings [...] keep this anthology from the top tier.
  • [...] spare style may lack universal appeal, but [...]

This week I am seeing mostly construction issues: haphazard and obscure; weak denouements, some overwritten; and poorly thought out endings, but I do also see a heavy focus on the prose with intuitive control of tone, the prose is tight and outstanding, and only one negative in that the style was spare, which is really subjective. I happen to like a spare style. Annie Proulx' style is said to be spare. I read Brokeback Mountain, which is really a novella. At fifty or so pages, it is quite spare. She doesn't bog you down with scenery or atmosphere simply because the focus is on the love story, sad as it may be. Spare can be quite fulfilling as long as it is emotionally rich in texture. Brokeback was certainly that. I hadn't cried at a book in quite a while.

Cheryl Anne Gardner

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