Miss Print

And now a reading from the book of F#$% all.

And now a reading from the book of F#$% all.

By the time that I got home on Saturday I had only a few pages left in the book that I was reading on the plane. It was the last few pages of the Epilogue, but I knew that if I didn’t finish them I would keep putting them off and it would hang over my head. So I made the effort to read them whie I was sitting on the couch with the Curmudgeonly Lion in between television shows.

“Is that your book from the plane?” He asked.

“Yes.” I responded. I showed him the last few pages that I was trying to get through between segments of “The Green Lantern” which was playing on TV. It was either that or “Daredevil”.

“Do you think you’ll finish it today?”

I said that I thought I would. I wasn’t sure what he was angling at.

“Maybe you can start a new one on Monday.”

At last, I understood: here I’d just gotten home and could finally spend time with him and I had my nose stuck in a book. It’s not as pervasive of a problem of being distracted from personal interaction by being completely absorbed in one’s phone, but it is certainly just as annoying. I promised myself I would wait until Monday to start the next book.

So today I started the next book: “Trainspotting” by Irvine Walsh. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. From the very first page I knew that it was going to be a different experience from any other book than I’d ever read. For one thing, it started right in the middle of the action: and I mean RIGHT in the middle of the action- in the middle of a sentence in fact. A sentence written in deep and phonetic Scots. There was no title page. There was no publication information. There was no sign that pages had been torn out. The book went straight from the cover to page twenty with nothing in between.

About four chapters in, also right in the middle of a sentence, the story suddenly turned from a scene describing the emotional turmoil of a character discovering that his baby has died into a page entitled “In Praise Of Irving Walsh’s ‘Trainspotting'”. Followed by publication information. Followed by a title page. Followed by Page One.

I realize that deconstruction is all the rage these days, but the more times I encounter deconstructed storytelling (*koff* “Actor’s Anonymous” *unkoff*) the more I realize how much I appreciate a nice straightforward narrative structure. I also realize that this was a binding error, not a deliberate style choice, but it did get me to thinking about the importance of the beginning of a story and how disorienting it can be to jump into a story in medias res.

As far as I can tell the rest of the pages are in order and I’ve gotten caught up to the point of where the misplaced first section continues into the rest of the story. With luck everything will be in order from here on out.


~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 5, 2015.

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