Compulsory reading for all writers
Posted November 16, 2011on:
This is one of the most perfect novels ever written. It has many layers and levels, thanks to its brilliant narrative structure of an old man recollecting a tragic love story he witnessed in intense close up as a young boy. It is a rare case of a complex narrative structure actually being necessary for the proper exposition of the plot. For the story is not just about what happened when the narrator was a boy, but how it changed his life as a man and how, towards the end of his life, writing about it changed him again.
It is evocative and sensual like nothing else I’ve read. It makes nostalgia seem religious and sexual desire seem pure.
The damage that is done to the lovers and to Leo, the narrator of the story, is not caused by their sexual feelings but by the constraints that society puts them under.
This is a profound work and reading it is a profound experience.
Amongst other things, it is a story about the power of imaginative writing to transform and heal the writer. This is a subject that interests me deeply.
Sometimes in my fantasies I run courses in creative writing and this is definitely one of the books I would choose to make compulsory reading for my students, for, apart from being a billiant novel, it is one of the best books there is on how to write.