I’m still fan boying Gillian Flynn and since I’ve read all she’s published I am reading books she has recommended. I found this link of her recommendations and latched onto the novel The War of the Roses by Warren Adler.
I’m about half way through it. The most noticeable thing so far is how much the style of writing has changed since the 1970s. It’s a bit more formal, a bit more complex, definitely more adult but also more chaste. It was a strange time.
I’ll admit that I wouldn’t have watched this if it weren’t for my wife. But then I would have missed a lesson in plotting. Whatever you want to say about the show, you can’t say that the plot isn’t complex.
The first episode set up in one hour so many narrative threads that when I looked back at it I was amazed by what they had done. Then as the show followed those threads they didn’t pull any cheats or deus ex machinas. As a guy who has written fairly straight stories and am now writing a more complex plot, I was blown away and had to applaud the writers.
As a writer who writes about unpleasant people, I’m glad I found Gillian Flynn.
I knew nothing about her really, expect that she was popular and my natural snootiness made me think she would be an easy read after a time when I had worn myself out on higher level stuff. Of course, I was wrong.
She writes challenging, damaged but realistic characters in highly dramatic but somewhat realistic situations but they act realistically. Don’t believe me? I guess you grew up in a healthy family. Congrats.
As a writer, what I’ve from her is to loosen up. I’m an uptight guy and that has always shown in my writing. I like to think of it as Hemingway-esque but I’ve learned over the last few years it’s just a tightness. Flynn was able to show a modern, 21st century was of loosening up to open up the characters to the reader, to let in the light and the color of them to illuminate them. I learned a lot.
So I needed something to read, something easy. Plus I’m a David Fincher fan. Who isn’t? So I decided to read Gone Girl and released Flynn can write. I knew nothing about her. I figure she was one of those pop corn book writers. One of those writers who can crank out mysteries once a year. Nope. She only has three and the depth of character she’s creating with Gone Girl within 15% of this book impressed me (i.e. makes me jealous).
So I downloaded her book Sharp Objects to listen to on my walks…what I hope are my walks. I had my wife take some pictures of me for my Amazon and Facebook pages….and I need to walk…and eat less. So Gillian Flynn will help me through that I hope also.
I’ve recently given up on Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying and Henry James’ A Turn of the Screw. Look, there are only so many hours in a day. And the older you get, the more valuable those hours become to you.
What am I reading now? Well, the days have been getting darker, both literally and figurately so I needed lighter fair. So I’m reading I, the Jury by Mickey Spillane because I was thinking of writing another of my Jake Gibb stories and I’m also reading The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe because I never have.
This isn’t my first time reading Faulkner. I’m reading As I Lay Dying now. It’s not one of the hard ones, as if there should be a hard novel. It’s twenties century American English. I’m a twentieth century American English speaker. He was a southern. I am half ‘southern’ and spent a good deal of time ‘down there’. It should come to me easy enough.
But I still need to consult Cliff’s Notes online to ‘get it’. I don’t think that makes me a rube or functionally illiterate. I’ve read older novels from other cultures and enjoyed them. I’ve read dense text books and philosophy and understood them. Maybe Faulkner is just b.s.?