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Previous BotM--DISCUSSIONS > 2010-09 PALIMPSEST: the prose

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message 1: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
What did you think of the prose style in Palimpsest?


message 2: by Candiss (last edited Sep 04, 2010 10:27AM) (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments I found it to be as much poetry as prose. The use of metaphor, the vivid imagery, the dreamlike quality - these all gave the prose a poetic hue. I often found my inner Reader riding the words as if I were reading a work of poetry rather than a novel.

I love Valente's way with language. I've been reading other things she's written, and they all have the imprint of both poetry and myth, although it manifests in different ways throughout different works. (She has a degree in Classics, and it shows.) Palimpsest is, by far, the most narrative of her works that I've yet read; it has the most distinct plot and the most concrete characterization. Much of her other stuff is even more nebulous.

I would label her writing "mythopoeic". I feel the term (and associated sub-genre) suits her style perfectly.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) I agree with you Candiss. Some of her novels are so nebulous I couldn't finish them, but this is the best of both worlds, and definitely the most fleshed out of an idea I have seen her pull off.

I love the unexpected choice of words that manage to create a far more vivid picture than the usual cliche word choices.


message 4: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 338 comments I think Candiss summed it up pretty well. She made really ugly, distasteful things sound beautiful.


message 5: by Sandra (new)

Sandra  (sleo) | 1141 comments I just started it late last night and was surprised to find myself entranced and both amused and titillated by the slippery nature of the prose. It pulled me in for what shapes up to be a lovely ride. Since it's so short, I'll probably finish it today.


message 6: by Phoenixfalls (new)

Phoenixfalls | 187 comments SPOILERS BELOW

I enjoyed her prose, but it was a tad too dreamlike for me. . . there was a sense of distance that I felt that made me initially feel underwhelmed by the ending. . . it wasn't until days later when I was thinking back on the plot itself that I felt the emotional impact of the various sacrifices the four main characters made to get into Palimpsest. . . I felt that the heavily metaphorical prose worked as an opening, but got in the way of the impact of the ending, I guess.


message 7: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
I just noticed this topic again when moving it to the "Previous Books of the Month" folder, and had to grin. The author posted something about using the P word when describing her style about a month later:

http://yuki-onna.livejournal.com/6153...


message 8: by Candiss (last edited Dec 03, 2010 09:39AM) (new)

Candiss (tantara) | 1207 comments Stefan - I recall reading that when she posted it. I found it amusing then, and it's even more so in context of our discussion here.

I'd follow the adventures of the Po-Po Bandit!

My favorite part of the linked blog post:
"Review drinking game: sip for "dense", drink for " not for everyone", finish your drink for accusations of poetic fraud."


message 9: by Phoenixfalls (new)

Phoenixfalls | 187 comments That post reminded me of some book I read earlier in the year. . . where a character actually DID leave readings in any house she visited. Except the readings weren't poetry, they were religious tracts that she chose especially to improve the characters of the people living in the house! It was hilarious. . . but of course I cannot for the life of me recall what book it was in.


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