Look Ma! No Paragraphs!

The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

So, as a counterpoint to the light movies I’ve been watching lately, I’ve started reading Kafka’s The Trial. I’ve never read anything by Kafka, and this work is mentioned rather frequently in the research I’ve done on The Prisoner, so…reading it I am.

One thing that I’ve noticed  about the book is the lack of paragraphs. There isn’t any separation between dialogue; the end result is massive paragraphs that go on for an entire chapter. I find that I can’t skim-read; I must read each and every word to know who is saying what. Otherwise, one missed dialogue tag and I really am clueless.

I hadn’t given much consideration to the separation of dialogue by different paragraphs. It, in my eyes, was a given. A new character speaks and there is a new line.

Not so in The Trial. Lines run together, making it some times difficult to figure out who is speaking when. The result is, though, fitting for the story. The reader, much like main character Joseph K., is left confused. The story, focusing on a man who is arrested and not informed as to what his crime is, leaves the reader in a state of uncertainty. Who is this Joseph K., really? Who are his tormentors? Why has he been arrested?

The lack of separate paragraphs provide a cramped, uncomfortable, almost prisonlike in your inability to escape. The text is closed. When reading, I can’t help but want to escape the bounds of the page, no doubt just as Joseph K. longs to escape the rigid, though ill defined, justice system.

The uncertainty is killing me. But I like it.

What’s on the Bookshelf? Vol. 12

What's On the Bookshelf?

Yes and no, I’m on a reading spree. More correctly, I’m on a reviewing/responding spree, as I read constantly.

I finished the superb Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors a couple of days ago.

I was a little apprehensive about reading this one, as it labels itself as A Love Story, but I enjoyed it immensely (far more than The Road). This is about the building of the Taj Mahal, and the destruction of the Royal Family after its completion.

The book is a compelling read; for those not interested in a love story there’s political intrigue, treachery and murder. It’s a real page turner in the truest sense of the word. I went from page fifty to one-fifty without realizing time had passed.

Shors uses a very good vocabulary. His characters ring true and Jahanara, the princess who narrates the story, actually reads like a woman.

I look forward to reading Shors’ next book (whenever it is released).