Saturday, December 08, 2012

When you Whish upon a star

Line of Sight, second novel by Australia's David Whish-Wilson, bears an epigraph from Leonardo Sciascia, and the tone of the novel's opening pages reminds me of that great Sicilian writer and social critic.

It also reminds me of Jean-Patrick Manchette, a bit of Dominique Manotti, and of Alan Glynn. That means the tone is deadpan. It also means there's no slowly dawning realization for the book's cop-against-the-cops protagonist that the world is set against him; we (and he) know that from the first. And that's a hell of a set-up for suspense. How will he get out of this?

Here's a sentence from the first chapter: "Before the news was days old the rumour was that Ruby Devine had been murdered by the police." Here's one from the second, as far as I've read so far: "It had been a long afternoon watching the fix come in."

Now, that makes me want to keep reading.

© Peter Rozovsky 2012

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4 Comments:

Blogger R.T. said...

You point to the dramatic irony in the novel--the character remains ignorant, but the readers understand well in advance of the character's recognition.

Too many contemporary readers have difficulty picking up on even the most obvious irony (in all its varieties) in literature. Students in my classes are often surprised (as well as dubious and indifferent) when I point out the ironies they ought to have noticed in their readings.

I have my own theories about readers' blindness to irony (similar to those theories offered by Harold Bloom in his writings).

Do you run into that problem with readers? With respect to the issue of irony recognition, what seems to have happened, do you think, to readers in the last 50 years or so? Do writers for whom you copy edit remain blind to the ironies involved in the writer-editor process and relationship?

December 08, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'm not too far into the novel yet, but I'm not sure the character is ignorant. The narrator does tell us, after all, that "It had been a long afternoon watching the fix come in."

Does the character know that the fix has come in? I don't know yet.

December 08, 2012  
Blogger R.T. said...

Ah, I misread your statement about the protagonist's awareness. You would think that I would know how to read a clear, concise blog posting. Shame on me.

Of course, there is irony in my misreading, isn't there? (And my students would quickly point it out to me!)

December 08, 2012  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yep, it seems I even wrote: "we (and he) know that from the first."

December 08, 2012  

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