Favourite segues

Philip.Belben at eme.co.uk Philip.Belben at eme.co.uk
Thu Apr 3 04:43:02 EST 2003

> Gee, both this and the Shakespeare are ones I should
> have thought of, although I don't think I could
> actually finish the Lindsay. All I can say is - they
> don't write books like they used to! or can someone
> come up with a recent example.

I like the idea of a framing narrative with an incomplete frame.

The only recent example I can think of is one of the little scenes in
Hofstadter's "Goedel, Escher, Bach".  The play-within-a-play is taken extremes -
about five levels - all with the same two characters; and the piece finishes one
level deeper than it started, giving the characters, who were doomed in the
outermost play, a happy ending.  The depth of play-withn-a-play is carefully
shown by indentation, so we're obviously intended to spot this.

Another book I read I found very annoying for a different reason.
(Unfortunately I can't remember the title, but it was an Arthurian setting.)
The framing narrative is in the present tense, while the main (as I thought)
narrative is in the past.  About two thirds of the way through the book, the
character narrating the inner story loses the urge to transmit the events of the
book to posterity, and we are returned to the present tense framing narrative
for the rest of the novel.

Does anyone else find present tense narratives for novels harder to read?


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