Thursday, May 03, 2007

the work ahead



A novel, in the end, is a container, a shape which you are trying to pour your story into.

-Helen Dunmore

4 comments:

jason evans said...

And the best novels probably break their containers.

billie said...

I think of it more like the best novels *have* containers, while the lesser ones spill out all over the place.

Matthew, your comment went the way of the twilight zone - I approved it but it seems to have disappeared. In response, I haven't read Helen Dunmore's books, but she's been on the perimeter of my radar for awhile now b/c of the awards her novels have won.

jason evans said...

I suppose I was thinking more of the experience. My favorite books are the ones where I feel like I lived another life for a while. The created world completely supplants the real one. It's hard for me to think of such a book in terms of containment.

I understand where you're coming from, however.

billie said...

It's just different ways of looking at it, Jason.

I think of the container, or vessel, as being almost like an offering the author is giving to the writer - having gathered up that other world made it available for the reader to experience.

The word "containment" is a positive thing to me - probably b/c I come at it from the POV of being a therapist, where being the "container" for someone's experience and story is what helps them heal.