Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Beautiful Scene is Empty

When is a story not really a story? When nothing happens.  Indeed, that's the traditional wisdom, but surely there are exceptions.

Look at Edmund White (if you dare).  Seriously, this man cannot craft a story.  You never once wonder what will happen next because nothing ever happens.  Yet he's one of my most admired authors because of his uncanny gift of description.  You know exactly where the characters are, and the minutiae of people's movements, emotions, and sensations, even if all that occurs are the minutiae. It's awe-inspiring.

Nevertheless, it takes me six months to get through a book by White, since there's no plot to keep me going.  It's like looking at someone's exquisite stamp collection.

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