It’s Better Than Sharing A Toothbrush

March 23rd, 2005 · No Comments
by Booksquare

There is a writing exercise — we’re sure you’ve all played along — where the class is given three items and instructed to construct a story (or at least a paragraph) including all items. The last time we participated in this, there were exploding fish and dead bodies. And those weren’t even on the list of three items.

Naturally, the point of the exercise is to illustrate that authors, even when given the same elements, will construct vastly different scenarios. Let us take a moment to admire the human brain. Surely a weirder creation has never been invented. This was the first thought when we read that Jonathan Safran Foer and Nicole Krauss each had novels that are strikingly similar (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The History of Love, respectively), yet stylistically different. Emma Garman’s analysis concludes that the parallels cannot be anything but intentional (unless, we suppose, one or the other author sleeptalks while the other sleeplistens).

It is an interesting, almost hubristic (in the best sense of the word), experiment. Our cynical side believes this will raise interest in Krauss’s work (Foer will likely meet sales goals on his own). Our sentimental side, and yes we have one, thinks it would be entertaining to take advantage of the husband’s Amazon Prime membership (again) and order both books. We could spend the weekend reading them back-to-back. We do so love romantic excess.

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