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Author Topic: Who needs narrative?
Rundler
editor
Babbler # 2699

posted 12 January 2006 11:10 AM      Profile for Rundler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
www.rabble.ca/reviews

Fans of the non-linear, raise your hands.


From: the murky world of books books books | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 12 January 2006 11:45 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Rundler, you're referring to the review of the Sparling, yes?

On the one hand, I don't always need narrative: as Sparling apparently says in his own defence (I haven't read him, obviously), poetry is not mostly narrative (although some great poetry is), and it is indeed often a more powerful effect, that jolt of recognition in seeing a truth pinned to a page in an image, and it does teach us to read in a new way.

Some of the passages that Slayter quotes from Sparling remind me a bit of Beckett - Company, eg, where the narrator says, of being able to wiggle his toes in bed, "It's company."

So if Sparling can do that, I'm all for it. The taste for narrative among readers is very strong, though. I must say, I have never lost it myself. But it is always good to think that there might be another Beckett coming along.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rundler
editor
Babbler # 2699

posted 12 January 2006 12:00 PM      Profile for Rundler     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, it was the Sparling review of which I wrote. I was trying to be, um, non-linear. No, not really. Just cagey for no reason. I think the way something without a conventional narrative wakes us up as readers is really key. Forced engagement in a world in which we're often numbed or distracted or beaten down into apathy. I love linear narrative too but non-linear work has forced me to recognize that that love is partly about the fantasy of a coherent structure. I don't really experience life that way, unless it's when I'm telling my own stories to impose something safer on things that feel scarily random.
From: the murky world of books books books | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 12 January 2006 12:28 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
non-linear work has forced me to recognize that that love is partly about the fantasy of a coherent structure. I don't really experience life that way, unless it's when I'm telling my own stories to impose something safer on things that feel scarily random.

I shall meditate upon this.

On the one hand (I keep doing this, eh? ), I am immersed in an experience right now that I am trying to make coherent in reality. Well: trying, nothing. I have to make it coherent, as in I have a responsibility.

But it is certainly true: the raw material I have to work with is joltingly random, shockingly random, maddeningly random, and by raw material I mean the world we usually call "the real world," not mostly the human realities it keeps seeming to me to violate.

All the same: I have this strong attachment to history as well as to literature. I think that there are deep human truths in historical narratives done right - and done right, they should be jolting, since the official histories most of us were brought up on are such soporific lies.

That's one of the reasons I can't give up the linear, and one of the reasons that I am always left questioning the turn to the absurd. I'm still not convinced that our experience has to be absurd - to me, hard truth is still less absurd than political reality, and I don't see why I should give up the good turf - or any turf, really - to the bourgeois liars.


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Timebandit
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1448

posted 12 January 2006 03:14 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rundler:
www.rabble.ca/reviews

Fans of the non-linear, raise your hands.



Non-linear does not mean non-narrative.

In fact, an argument can be made that there is precious little out there that is actually non-narrative, non-linear though it may be.


From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Babbling_Jenn
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 10944

posted 14 January 2006 02:08 PM      Profile for Babbling_Jenn     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Before we go too far on the non-linear discussion, could someone explain to me why I'd want to read a book that has no drive? Would it be for the amazing descriptors? The author's ability to portray splices of a person's life or a moment?

I'm not being sarcastic here...I really want to know what would make me want to read it.


From: Rural Ontario | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
Timebandit
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 1448

posted 17 January 2006 08:59 PM      Profile for Timebandit     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sometimes just the beauty, flow and creative use of language is enough for me. I like alternative forms of narrative (again, I don't really buy the non-narrative idea, with the exception of Brakhage's and a few other formalist filmmakers' films, I've never come across anything entirely narrativeless) because they express something different, take your mind out of the structures we so often cling to. If you have an open mind about it, it can be quite liberating.
From: Urban prairie. | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged

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