Sometimes I’m reading and I think ‘I could stand you forever’, and other times I want to toss the book aside from waiting for the character to change. But each character, and narrator, should have their own unique voice. Because, the narrator isn’t ‘you’. You are an actor playing the part of the narrator–and the characters–when you put the words down on the page.
I started reading Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, which is a set of six stories from six different characters points of view, that are all related somehow. The book is described as ‘a puzzle’ in several reviews, which I found appealing.
However, the style in which the first couple sections are written, is quite daunting to deal with. The ‘old style’ of language is difficult to parse, and I really have to think about it in order to understand what is going on. It appears that each character is a bit further forward in time (I just began the second section, and it’s much easier so far), so I expect clarity will improve. But it was quite a difficult voice to start with.
I’m hoping to learn a lot from this novel, because my next project will involve several characters telling their story (six at the moment, so it happens) and I want them each to have a unique voice and way of looking at the world.