Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Hate Literary Surprise Violence

When I read a book I let my defenses down, so I can fully experience the story. This is not a conscious choice it's just something that happens. So when I feel an author is messing with my head I really, really take it personally. Surprise extreme violence is the worst, and it's funny (?) how what happens is strangely similar to real life - it takes repeated violations for the relationship to end.

Something I dislike happens in a book and I continue reading/listening thinking that it might get better. It usually doesn't. If an author has decided that that's their thing then they use that cheap trick (and that's all it is) repeatedly.

The most recent one I WAS listening to has painted a bleak scenario for the characters. You know the main character is going to be ok, but those along are very much at risk, so in a sense I had been warned. But the author will take you off on a the main character dreaming about the innocence of playing in her childhood and you get sucked into that story and then pow. The main character wakes up to find that one depressed/hallucinating character has killed herself, and then of course the main character spends time describing the dead woman's body. I spent time cursing at the author.

This is not Taratino. It's not hyperviolent, but Taratino you do get warning (in the script or on film). Even David Lynch or the Cohen brothers (i'm thinking the brutal No Country for Old Men) are easier in a way than writers who seem to deliberately screw around with your comfort level. Maybe that's his point, but I rarely leave audible books behind but this is one of them. After a few go rounds like this and knowing that it's going to get worse (I read a summary in self defense), I've decided my time is better spent reading less punishing stuff and I'm going to have to offer my apolgies and views to the book club. Ironically it's a reasonably well rated book: ah well.


Jennie said...

Yeah, I haven't started it, but I did have advance warning about the "scene on the beach." Sorry. :(

Ellen said...

3 hours in and hadn't gotten to that point though I have heard about it. Given that, it was time to stop for me.