Friday, July 19, 2013

The Mark of Great Writing

Each new day, when they come out from the far side of the barn, it is like the next act, or the start of an entirely new play.

This is the opening of Booker prize awardee Lydia Davis's new chapbook, The Cows. The book grew out of her musings as she observed three cows on a meadow next to her house. She watched and photographed them, perhaps for several years. The apparently random movements of the bovines intrigued her:


One thinks there is a reason to walk briskly to the far corner of the field, but the other thinks there is no reason, and stands where she is.  At first she stands still where she is, while the other walks away briskly, but then changes her mind, and follows.
She follows, but stops halfway there.  Is it that she has forgotten why she was going there, or that she has lost interest?  She and the other are standing in parallel positions.  She is looking straight ahead.
Great writing hooks you from the word go and sucks you up into the worlds of the characters.

Ms. Davis attempts to decipher the mind of the quadrupeds in fascinating paragraphs, often revealing insights into the human mind. Her musings completely absorb the reader into the scenario, making them a part of it.

Isn't that the mark of great writing ? Find out for yourself.
You can see a preview of the kindle edition here: 
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