Yes, Yes, Well What Did They Expect?

August 12th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Beginning authors often worry that someone with steal their ideas. This worry is usually supplanted by the realization that there are far too many of them out there, and it might be nice if someone took a few off a person’s mind. The truth is that two people, when faced with the exact same idea, will take it in different directions. This is why eyewitness reports are notoriously unreliable. People create their own reality.

Thus it was inevitable that a book (a chain novel) written by 19 authors would have a few problems:

But like almost any collective effort, the transient plot stalls and is derailed along the way, until even the female protagonist ruminates on her unpredictable journey near the end of the book, in Steven Galloway’s chapter set in Vancouver: “I’m confused, Olivia thought. And who wouldn’t be. You meet a guy, misplace an attraction for whales, get slapped, think you’re pregnant, find out you’re not, then change your mind and decide you in fact are, which is confirmed by an omniscient blind Indian, and all the while you can’t help but feel you’re acting strangely.”

But that is the beauty of fiction, isn’t it? The fact that it’s a lot like reality, but more believable? Except for the acting strangely. That only happens in fiction. We think this is a book we’d enjoy, if only because it caused so much anguish:

What started out as a jaunty road trip turned sour as writers continuously threw wrenches into the plot. For instance, one writer introduced a gun that his characters suggested must go off before the novel’s end. Challenges were offered at the end of another chapter by suggesting a secret was waiting to be divulged. And two painful slaps (introduced by Heti) must be forgiven. This abuse was a point of contention among the participants.

Yes, we do think we’d like it.

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