Vivienne Woodward looks at some books that manipulate our sense of time. The inspiration for this essay is the way COVID-19 lockdown has affected her perception of time:
One of the things reading fiction makes clear is how many ways there are to use and manipulate time. This period of quarantine has made me think about the art of time in my own life in a new way; it has forced me to wake up every day and make more deliberate choices about how I will spend it. Perhaps the way we experience reality is not so different from the way writers construct narrative. Joan Didion famously said that “we tell ourselves stories in order to live.” If we take her word on that, then let’s make better study of one of the most malleable narrative elements we have: time.
This is the fifth installment in Lisa Levy’s examination of why so many crime novels feature the word girl: “Girls are the easiest characters to put into peril and the ones with whom the audience is most likely to sympathize.”
There are links to the first four installments near the beginning of the article.
The title of this article comes from a comment writer Lee Child made when he recently turned over the writing of the Jack Reacher series to his brother Andrew Grant.
“Creating a long-running series featuring a much-loved character can be both a blessing and a curse,” Alison Flood says here. Read how some authors, including Sara Paretsky, Attica Locke, Val McDermid, Ann Cleeves, and Michael Connelly, have dealt with their long-term relationships with their fictional creations.
If you follow the topic “reading” on any social media platform, you’ve undoubtedly seen the statement “It’s not hoarding if it’s books.” Here Mik Awake declares, “Book-hoarding is less cute if you think of it as book-privatizing.”
As far back as the novels in Oates’s Wonderland Quartet, such as “Expensive People” (1968) and “them” (1969), which received the National Book Award fifty years ago this fall, Oates has deployed her zeal for revision to forge a style of rousing roughness. Her dozens of novels and hundreds of short stories, many of them set in western New York, forgo an air of cool mastery in favor of a kind of cultivated vulnerability, an openness to engulfment.
Because I like mysteries and thrillers, I’m always interested in any article that includes them in its title. Here Tammy Cohen, author of six psychological thrillers, lists five of her favorites by other authors.
Cohen also offers an inclusive definition of the genre psychological thriller:
The psychological thriller explores our internal state, our internal fears, our relationships, the way we see ourselves in our domestic world, in our small world, interacting with the people around us. And it plays on our fears about things that could go wrong within that sphere. It doesn’t have to be domestic, but it usually takes place within a small group, which gives it that claustrophobic feeling.
Her definition well explains why I find that such novels explore most fully the darkest depths of the human heart and mind.
© 2020 by Mary Daniels Brown