Re: RARA-AVIS: Scottish UK noir

Date: 18 Jun 2002

Charlie said:

"I've gotta say, as a reader, "voice" fiction is better if the whole novel is that way. If you don't fall in love with the voice in the first sentence, you've got the whole book to let it seduce you (or not). Jim Thompson's Pop. 1280 stands above all his others for me because I just love the easy way Nick Corey speaks (writes). Martin Amis created a masterpiece with a narrator who played with his own accent when he wrote Money. Trainspotting is so good because the thick language really makes me see the characters, somehow. These are three that work for me. There are dozens of others that failed because the non-standard English just didn't work."

This seems to be what many people think. Good luck with your invented yockelisms. Yip, Nick Corey does work, and one of my favourite novels (not HB) is Ridley Walker by Russel Hoban, which is all written in a post apocalyptic mish-mash language that starts as hard work but soon pulls you in. I think that it's the accented speech that threw me, and perhaps over a longer piece I wouldn't even have noticed it - and it still doesn't much dilute my enthusiasm for Brookmyre's story. When do you do it though writers? I am trying to think of other examples, and not many spring to mind - it seems unnecessary to me, for example I don't recall New York or Boston accents being written but a couple of times I have seen Southern US accents rendered. I think the odd word carries more weight than the whole shebang. Cheers, Colin.

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