Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Name Your Poison

From: Allan Guthrie (
Date: 01 Sep 2006

My ideal reading is to engage the reader for three or four hours by sucking them into a world they believe in (which doesn't mean it has to be realistic; I don't think mine is)that's populated with characters they engage with (which doesn't mean the reader has to like them; most of the time, there's little chance of that). I don't have an intended meaning so I can't hope that the reader's understanding will be close to it. Unless you mean at a very basic line-by-line level. I write from character-specific points of view, so whilst I have to admit that it's impossible for me, the author, to escape the bars of my own ideological prison cell, I strive to keep 'me' out of it and endeavour to create the convincing lie (which is all it can be) that each character telling the story is doing so from their own private cell. Any meaning derived from the ensuing narrative is up to the reader. I know the characters I write about, but I don't judge them. They judge each other plenty, of c
 ourse. I'm sure they would hope that their intended meaning came across. If they were self-aware.


  ----- Original Message -----
  Sent: Thursday, August 31, 2006 11:49 PM
  Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Name Your Poison

  Al wrote:

  "The 'hooligans' don't use baseball bats, though. They're more into
  blades. And Samurai swords."

  Samurai swords? Wow, that's the kind of detail that would make me
  skeptical of a book's world being real, unless the author was going for
  over the top (in other words, I'd believe it in Bruen's Brant series).
  Truth is stranger than fiction.

  "Yes, naturally I've received impressions of American culture from
  reading American fiction. I'm not suggesting that that doesn't happen.
  Readers interpret, like I said. Reality is subjective. Surely fiction
  must be too."

  True, but I have trouble believing that an author believes his books to
  be totally up to the reader. Do you really not have an ideal reading in
  mind? Do you really not hope that a reader's understanding will be at
  least close to your intended meaning?



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