A Response to a great post

Zhiv sent me this link today:


‘I went for a walk in the woods among the lakes of Yaddo, as flush with emotion as if I had written the book myself. In the company of such a masterwork, I felt one of the elect, irrationally and idiotically hoping the group would remain as small as possible.’

That is what he does! For those who ‘get’ Yates, he makes you feel you’ve written the book because, in a sense, you do. He forces you to use all your senses and to take part in the writing – we hear their arguments raging, we smell the coffee and bacon that last fateful morning, acting as a agonising evocation of calm, of comfort and fulfillment while inside we know, we feel, the desperation in April’s every encouraging smile and, of course, we see it all so clearly. Every picture is painted so perfectly – Maureen Grube’s flat where ‘everything swam in the vivid yellow light’; Shep Campbell’s polished shoes, glossy with hope and as shiny as his own self-belief (at this point) juxtaposed against something we all know too well – ‘the yellowed armpits of his T-shirt’.

The intimacy of Yates’s style, an intimacy that draws the reader in so quickly so that you are locked in their struggles, does I think come particularly from the dialogue-driven narratives. Slipping from one idiom to another so seamlessly, Yates forces you to hear all those different voices and their inflections and nervous hesitations and so you take part.  I think Lizzie is just about spot on.


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