Sunday, November 1, 2009

Field Notes

It seems to me that the author has taken some writing risks with this book. Perhaps that is because she is writing a journalistic BOOK and not an article with a word limit, or perhaps it is because different literary devices are needed to successfully write a book versus a magazine or newspaper article; I don't know...

Firstly, I've noticed that a certain subtle, cynical sense of humor comes through in the writing at times. I suppose this isn't a huge risk; although, it is an interesting choice considering the serious nature of the book's topic. I actually do like that the author has done this, but it is something that immediately caught my attention. Here is an example of what I mean:

"The Soviets more or less invented the study of permafrost when they decided to build their gulags in Siberia."

Secondly, the author seems to have little use for transitions between paragraphs. It's as if she has allowed the random flow of her thoughts to determine the order of her paragraphs. Frankly, I'm not sure if this is a poor choice or a genius one.

Lastly, I am appreciative of the amounts of seemingly unrelated, yet colorful detail that the author has chosen to include in her story. For example:

"It turned out that he had brought the Tostitos to stave off not hunger but fatigue--the crunching, he said, kept him awake--and by now the enormous bag was more than half empty."

Typically there is simply not room for this kind of excess information in an article; although, I have often found myself wishing to include information of this nature in my own stories.

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