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4 responses to “Books by Tara Ison’s Bed”

  1. Dick Cummins class of '70

    Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel. I am a Tudor junkie … So why do I find this book unreadable? Stunning opening, gorgeous language, compelling historically-accurate drama…and I cannot get beyond the first 30 pages.”

    I heard of this book on NPR too, Tara—so ordered it from Amazon the same day—couldn’t get any further than page 30 either! Just wasn’t a compelling read—and I wasn’t buying it—or maybe I didn’t care what was going to happen to the unlikeable characters introduced to that point … as Mark Twain said – “… hoped all the characters would get drowned together” (paraphrase)?

    You mention that you are planning to teach a course next year in writing from a child’s POV.

    My two cents: I started writing a “novel veiled as memoir” after Eric O. got me thinking about my dad who was nearly 50 years old when I was born and died when I was eight. The project started as a character sketch with the narrator finding an old photo album in the attic that smelled like mice. After a paragraph or two I switched to a scene from childhood—a dialogue of parents talking about getting dressed up in costume for a centennial parade and pageant in Monterey—probably 1949—when I was five.

    The point I want to make is that I comfortably slipped into the narrative voice of a child without consciously thinking about it. What ended up compelling (I hope, of course) was that voice’s dramatic irony that lets the reader fill in more understanding of a scene or the situation than the child has—well is supposed to have.

    Think there is an enhanced reader involvement with this technique—a closure—that when the child comments on something, the reader makes an inductive leap and understands more about what is going on and therefore feels em[powered?

    Like this stupid locker room joke?

    “The name of your team doesn’t make sense—the ‘Nads?'”

    “Well it does when you start cheering!”

    Child’s voice: “I didn’t pick up much about his sidearm pitching stuff which was okay because at least he was talking to me. But driving past my mother walking up the hill, my father didn’t slow down or even look over. I waved at her through the back window and she stopped, resting her fists on her hips.

    It was becoming clear that the balance of power with grown ups had a lot to do with who was driving the car.”

    Your course on child POV books sounds fascinating Tara. Wish you were close enough that I could sit in!!

  2. Tara Ison

    What a wonderful comment, Dick, thank you! I think you’re so right re: a reader’s engagement with a child’s pov – wish you were close enough to come guest lecture.

  3. Dick Cummins

    The child POV can be very tricky—will your reader lose their suspension of disbelief if a concluding paragraph line gets too “grown up” on them—contains figurative language that is far too sophisticated for the narrator’s age?

    Examples that I worry about from my “novel veiled as memoir:” “…Then picking my toy balloon he throttled it around the middle until it blew apart, their irreconcilable differences squirting out between his fingers like curdled air.” Or this bit of business: “…My father looked back over his shoulder for traffic then and taking a deep drag of his cigarette without touching it, he ground the Crosley into gear and merged back onto Lighthouse Avenue, spears of smoke jetting out his nose—an aging dragon in decline.”

    Or worse:” “…and I realized there was going be a lot more I needed to grow into than just my new baseball glove of guilt—man of the house or not.”

    These “too-adult-by-half(s)” are still in there, but they make me nervous…

  4. Kite The Wind Fiction Writers

    […] Betrayal 1 through 30 Free Essays on Kite Runner Betrayal. Get help with your writing. 1 through 30.Books by Tara Ison's Bed A Kite in the Wind: Fiction Writers on Their Craft, Andrea Barrett and Peter Turchi, editors. Peter […]

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