I am aware that I haven’t posted for some hundreds of years, and that is due to various reasons: rubbish blogger being the top one; completing my MA being second; and family-issues-like-you-wouldn’t-believe being the third. Still, here I am. And the reason for this return to WordPress? Reading and Writing of course.
I’m still worrying away at trying to be a writer, well writing – a lot. And, in my quest to find, and polish, my voice as a writer, I am spreading my reading net to catch new styles, and find new (to me) writers.
The Booker prize seemed to be a good place to start – and I thought I’d go back before I went forward, so I started with Penelope Lively Moon Tiger. I’m really looking for narratives that move back and forth in the protagonist’s life as this is what I’m trying to do in the novel I’m writing at the moment. I want to look at how that is achieved in a way that doesn’t feel clunky or jarring. And Moon Tiger is a beautifully evocative example of a narrative that does just that. In fact, Lively does much more than simply move between the different events in her protagonist’s life; she also moves between narrative perspectives. So that we get the same, often quite small event, through the eyes or voice of each of the principal characters involved: sometimes this is through first person, and sometimes through third person. It is beautifully, brilliantly, and deftly done – with the narrative moving seamlessly often from one paragraph to the next.
Further, and this is something that I am also concerned with, she somehow manages to paint her self-centred, hard-edged, and judgemental heroine in such a way, that the reader cannot help but be drawn to her.
It was a pure joy to read, and the perfect book for a writer in training. Ideal in that, as the narrative moves elegantly between narrative perspectives and voices, you can examine the craft of writing from many different angles. As Dorothea Brande states in Becoming a Writer ‘…technical excellences can be imitated, and with great advantage. When you have found a passage, long or short, which seems to you far better than anything of the sort you are yet able to do, sit down to learn from it.’ I would certainly recommend that any one wishing to learn, or at any rate improve, the craft of writing, to have a read of Moon Tiger.