Thursday, June 10, 2004

Difficulties of being God. "Two years after Nicole was born, Dennis and Angela's next youngest child, Anne, was knocked down by a van outside their house and died in hospital a few hours later. I have avoided direct presentation of this incident because frankly I find it too painful to contemplate. Of course, Dennis and Angela and Anne are fictional characters, they cannot bleed or weep, but they stand here for all the real people to whom such disasters happen with no apparent reason or justice. One does not kill off characters lightly, I assure you, even ones like Anne, evoked solely for that purpose." - David Lodge, How Far Can You Go?
This chatter is programmatic: demystification of narrative in a novel about the demystification of the Catholic church. It being a demystified novel, you are later told so. But it's uncomfortable in ways that I'm not sure were planned. The sense that talking like that is somehow cheating is probably meant to be there; but the sense of disclaiming responsibility for a world one designed is probably not.
[How Far Can You Go?, by David Lodge, Secker and Warburg, London, 1980. Smarter and more serious, I think, than the campus novels. Same coy experimentalism, though.]

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