Friday, March 29, 2013

Post-modern novel within novel... Hmm. Didn't Hamlet do that with a play?

Here's an essay about a couple recent examples of the post-modern novel, which seems to have devolved to "this is actually a novel written by an author character, and you thought it was really a novel written by an author! Ha, ha, fooled ya!"

I have come to think that it's really far, far more radical and destabilizing to write a book that engages in a conspiracy with the reader that the events here are real, not invented, you know, the way novels usually are. That's a lot more interesting than "ha, ha, fooled you!"

But I thought Atonement (mentioned in this essay) was much more interesting because SPOILER ALERT! in the end, it turned out the whole book was written "in atonement" to "fix" the tragedy the writer-character had created. That actually made fictional sense, though the same author in the newest book pretty much just has a "fooled ya!" purpose, and that's sort of dull.

What do  you all think of this not-so-new trend? I still want a purpose within the novel for creating the novel-- something that creates a within-novel reason for the trick.

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