Sunday, 26 August 2012

Writing styles and literary genres

I've been reading this very interesting book on one of the luminaries of Canadian culture, a book by Georges Leroux called, Partita for Glenn Gould (translated by Donald Winkler, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2010).

In the book, Leroux talks about Gould's admiration for a Japanese writer named Natsume Soseki whom he quoted often in writing letters to his friends. Leroux writes that Soseki's style of writing was very cerebral and often based almost entirely on the characters' psychological reality rather than a narrative. I was blown away by this, and thought long and hard how Soseki managed to pull it off, then I realized that Gould also admired Kafka greatly, and Kafka's work is likewise often based on the characters' inner reality and sense/emotional impressions more than anything.

Not having had the opportunity to becoming a reader on Soseki and Kafka (though I've read a bit Kafka), I realized this morning that I'm an admirer of a writer of similar persuasion (though, admittedly he may be considered of a lower brow by the more fastidious readers), Arthur C Clarke. I love Clarke, and consider him a great writer (not just a sci-fi writer). His characters' inner realities make up a great deal of the pages he writes.

This writing style may be a bit slow for some tastes, but it provides an excellent space for self-reflection and self-examination and possibilities for identifying oneself with the characters. It also makes one appreciate the more technical aspects of writing and self-dialogue that is quite a technical and aesthetic feat to pull off if one pulls it off well.

Jay

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