Friday, August 29, 2008

Metafiction (2)


Though not really about metfiction at all, this time.

I'm currently reading Douglas Kennedy's State of the union, which is actually a seriously gripping read. I've read 370 pages in the past couple of evenings.

However, I was talking about metafiction before, and how eventually it loses impact, largely, I think, because it lacks a human connection. And I wondered whether, forty years after the metafiction mini-boom in the 60s, we might find writers having to move back to more traditional forms in order to convey drama/emotion/character.

Perhaps so, and if so I don't much mind. However, reading the Kennedy, the early stages were very good, the characters set up very neatly (if a tad tellily, especially the mother). We had an interesting MC who was riddled by fear of the unknown, which stopped her fulfilling her potential and meant she was going to end up with the safe but dull doctor.

And then into the story came the classic 1960s radical, with long hair, good looks, command of the Marxist bullshit etc. As soon as you read it you think - she's gonna fuck him.

And, of course, she does.

And this is a really good book. As it progresses it gets better and better, and the character development is fascinating and believable. But it is built on this paper-thin premise which is so obvious it makes you groan out loud. Does it matter? This isn't my usual reading fare, so perhaps I'm just bringing the wrong eye to bear on it. But it struck me as interesting, immediately after I discussed the failings of metafiction. This seems to offer the mirror failings of the traditional narrative structure: too bloody obvious.

It's tough, this writing lark...

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