Some thoughts about week 5 readings ft. the view from my room.

The Line of Beauty – Alan Hollinghurst

One of the strongest elements of this extract is the exposition of character development. With each new character introduced, there are clear, defining characteristics to them. It seems as though Nick and his anxieties about proving himself come through quite clearly in the way other characters are described. I’m not sure of where the plot will go from here, but this sets up a nice beginning for what seems to be a very character-driven story. Nick and Catherine’s relationship is also interestingly set up near the end of the extract, the way they both live in each other’s lives. It seems as though Nick admires Catherine’s humor, and she thrives off of it.

“My Wife is a White Russian” – Rose Tremain

I really enjoyed this story. The central plot of the ill and bitter narrator and his unloving wife really drive the story along, but the layers of their meeting and the dinner with the Australian couple keep it from becoming too heavy. Yes, it is extremely dark, and I felt that the narrator’s commentary on the Australian man and his wife were ways of him distracting his mind from the pain he feels over his wife. This is especially proven when Tremain incorporates bits of their young relationship, how she never loved him and only married him for his money. I think it was clever to make him a financier, and include the story of his wife wanting separate rooms.

The narrator is clearly very troubled, and looking at the condition of his life: an illness that impairs his movement and a wife who never loved him, the melancholy tone of the story is perfect.

“Notes on a Love Story” – Philp Langeskov

I went into reading this story with a sour disposition because I hate footnotes. I hate all footnotes and they distract the flow of reading so I often do not ever read footnotes. That being said, the use of footnotes as the real plot of a seemingly boring story was an interesting concept. I still hate footnotes and didn’t read them as they came up but rather read them all when I finished the actual story, so maybe I’ve read it out of order. I liked the story as it was without the footnotes. It was short and sweet, and the addition of the geese felt like a quirky and fun element to represent Sam and Sarah’s relationship. I think the footnotes put writers in a bad light, especially with the pretentious “a novel is like a love affair bit.” Not that writing isn’t a magical experience, but writers (myself included) tend to over-dramatize quite literally everything. Which I suppose is where the conflict for this story came from. Sorry Sarah.