Saturday, July 26, 2014

History, memory, fiction

I’m reading a crime novel, not yet published, that packs a dense mass of historical and other noteworthy events into the action, yet manages at the same time to keep the story moving on a personal, even intimate scale. How does the author manage this?

By remembering at every moment that the characters do not know that what they are experiencing will one day be regarded as historic. By introducing such crime-fiction conventions as the story does contain at odd moments and in understated ways. By believably dramatizing little-known divisions within well-known historical movements, but avoiding the temptation to turn the principals into era-defining symbols, and this for a historical period especially vulnerable to symbol-mongering.

That’s how one author keeps the narration of historic events fresh. Go here, here, here, and here for more discussions of history, fiction, and what happens when they meet. Here, too.

© Peter Rozovsky 2014

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Blogger Unknown said...

History . . . memory . . . fiction . . . Isn't it curious the ways in which each of those words are sometimes identical . . .

July 28, 2014  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Interesting, isn't it? In this case, the novel in question is set in the past, but in a past within the memory of the book's author. It may help that I was reading Curzio Malaparte's Kaputt while read this book.

July 28, 2014  

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