: I have lamented
: that modern Latin American literature came to be
: identified in some quarters only with magical realism,
: i.e. books by Latin American authors that couldn't be
: categorized as such tended to be ignored or
: What an awful thought! Some Latin American authors
: (Borges, Garcia Marquez, et al.) come up with an
: excellent idea, which then turns into a straitjacket
: for authors from 20 or so countries!
: Plot / situation. Does the plot or the situation
: depicted stimulate your mind? We know many works of
: literary art need no plot, and then the way to present
: a plotless situation becomes relevant.
: Yes, plot is tricky. Used in a narrow sense of a
: "patterned" story, e.g., Tom Jones , few
: modern novels have plots (although David Mitchell
: does). However, it seems to me that a successful
: novel must have narrative momentum of some kind.
: Wittgenstein's Mistress, The Sense of an Ending, and
: Omensetter's Luck certainly do not have traditional
: plots, but they all have a compelling narrative. I
: was unable to read The Slynx because I felt that it
: has none.
: Character development. Do you care about the
: characters and their fate? Do they ring a bell in your
: psyche? Are they attractive as such?
: This one is debatable. Characters need to be
: compelling in some way, but not necessarily likeable
: or attractive. I didn't like anyone much in Sense of
: an Ending , but I thought it was a good novel. I
: didn't like the characters in The Sea , and I thought
: it was an excellent novel (with a clever plot). I was
: interested in the characters in both novels, and I
: suppose I cared what happened to them, but without
: liking them much. The ultimate example is probably
: The Prague Cemetery . And yet, I have come across
: books that affected me as The Bone People did both
: Steven and Guillermo in which I didn't want to spend
: any more time with the characters. It's hard to
: explain, isn't it?
: Isn't postmodernism in some ways a present day
: substitute? Thinking of such works as Gravity's
: Rainbow and Infinite Jest, we have the ridiculous and
: the absurd taking the place of the magical and the
: purely symbolic.
: Very interesting. I believe you're right. Pynchon,
: DFW, John Barth, and company all feature unrealistic
: events, situations, and so on, but they're not fantasy
: or even magic realism. I wonder why not?
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