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unBURIED Authors E-J > Wilson Harris

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message 1: by Paul (new)

Paul (booksdofurnisharoom) | 13 comments Wilson Harris is a Guyanese author, now living in retirement in Britain. His works are complex, and despite being knighted in the 2010 honours list, he is not well known. Sections of his wiki entry will give a flavour;

Literary critics have stated that although reading Harris's work is challenging, it is rewarding in many ways. Harris has been admired for his exploration of the themes of conquest and colonization as well as the struggles of colonized peoples. Readers have commented that his novels are an attempt to express truths about the way people experience reality through the lens of the imagination. Harris has been faulted for his novels that have often nonlinear plot lines, and for his preference of internal perceptions over external realities.

Critics have described Harris's abstract, experimental narratives as difficult to read, dense, complex, or opaque. Many readers have commented that Harris's essays push the boundaries of traditional literary criticism, and that his fiction pushes the limits of the novel genre itself. Harris's writing has been associated with many different literary genres by critics, including: surrealism, magic realism, mysticism and modernism. Over the years, Harris has used many different concepts to define his literary approach, including: cross-culturalism, modern allegory, epic, and quantum fiction. One critic described Harris's fictions as informed by "quantum penetration where Existence and non-existence are both real. You can contemplate them as if both are true."

His writing has been called ambitiously experimental and his narrative structure is described as "multiple and flexible."

Wilson Harris categorized his innovations and literary techniques as quantum fiction. He uses the definition in The Carnival Trilogy and, in the final novel, The Four Banks of the River of Space.

Harris noted in an interview that "in describing the world you see, the language evolves and begins to encompass realities that are not visible". Harris attributed his innovative literary techniques as a development that was the result of being witness to the physical world behaving as quantum theory. To accommodate his new perceptions, Harris said he realized he was writing "quantum fiction".

The technique of Wilson Harris has been called experimental and innovative. Harris describes that conventional writing is different from his style of writing in that "conventional writing is straightforward writing" and "My writing is quantum writing. Do you know of the quantum bullet? The quantum bullet, when it's fired, leaves not one hole but two."

The use of nonlinear events and metaphor is a substantive component of his prose. Another technique employed by Harris is the combination of words and concepts in unexpected, jarring ways. Through this technique of combination, Harris displays the underlying, linking root that prevents two categories from ever really existing in opposition. The technique exposes and alters the power of language to lock in fixed beliefs and attitudes, "freeing" words and concepts to associate in new ways.

Harris sees language as the key to social and human transformations. His approach begins with a regard of language as a power to both enslave and free. This quest and understanding underlies his narrative fiction themes about human slavery. Harris cites language as both, a crucial element in the subjugation of slaves and indentures, and the means by which the destructive processes of history could be reversed

message 2: by Paul (new)

Paul (booksdofurnisharoom) | 13 comments I have read the four books of his Guyana Quartet, but his most recent novel The Ghost of Memory , which is a meditation on the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes is well worth a look

message 3: by Thomas (new)

Thomas | 52 comments I read Palace of the Peacock and I'm now reading the first part of the Carnival trilogy and it's almost bafflingly dense and he's doing about three different things at once in addition to a normal narrative. Really interesting stuff.

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