Saturday, February 26, 2011

Morrison = Shakespeare

Toni Morrison

While simultaneously reading, for the classes I teach, Toni Morrison's Sula (first read 30 years ago) and Beloved (new to me), I found that my brain was being exercised with labor and joy in much the same manner it is when reading Shakespeare, and so I thought, "Toni Morrison is as good as Shakespeare." There is just so much—too much—going on at any one time in a sentence or chapter of her work, much as one feels when reading Shakespeare. Pace Eliot, time past and time future are contained in time present, so that each moment of the book sends you hurtling back while you know you're being thrown forward toward events that will hearken back to the page on which you find yourself. This is greatness.

Jasper Fforde

In other news, I finished Something Rotten and hereby pronounce it eminently enjoyable. It's the fourth in the Thursday Next series, but the first I've read. For someone with more time and who reads more quickly, I suggest beginning at the beginning (with The Eyre Affair). The volume I read is full of inventiveness, fun storytelling, and a host of references only appreciated by the at-least-moderately-well-read.


I've got 11,000 words, many of which will be tossed utterly or simply replaced or perhaps shuffled. Still, several thousand words are required to fill some narrative gaps, but I'm happy to report that I know what goes in the gaps, which makes for a welcome change. Most likely, a great winnowing will occur to make the whole thing tighter at some later date.


Still awaiting reviews. Though a prequel, it's quite different—in voice, plot, structure and themes . . . and arguably in genre— from the story it's meant to proceed, so I expect different responses.


TheDawgLives said...

I just finished Clockworks and loved it. I need to re-read Helping Then Take The Old Man down, but I recall liking it as well. The prequel kept the theme of mystery surrounding The Man Himself.
Who is he?
How did he get into this line of work?
How does he maintain his vitality after 50(?) years?
Does he possess super-human strength?
These are all questions that pique my interest in these stories.
I'm excited about the concept of extending this storyline and would definitely buy a book about the Old Man.
Keep up the good work.

William Preston said...

Thanks for the note (I don't know why it got sent to spam initially); I'm glad to hear you're enjoying these stories--which I enjoy writing. You'll get some more answers (as will I) with the next story, "Unearthed."

Thanks for stopping by. We writers appreciate hearing from our readers.

Berry said...

Hey, Bill. Having read Beloved a few months gone, I can attest to that sense of savoring Morrison's prose in much the same manner I'd savor the Bard's work. Yes, Morrison definitely rewards the attentive reader and, at least with my experience with Beloved, rewards with the interstitial nature of toying with narrative.

William Preston said...

Speaking as a writer: Morrison also makes me feel dumb.

Julien Cornebise said...
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