Thursday, December 08, 2005

Writing in reverse

I'm reading my very first in reverse (including dialogue) book! I don't know how he did it because it's taken me about 50 pages to get used to reading it, so writing it must have been a nightmare, but Martin Amis' Times Arrow is a true literary feat. Not only does the book have to be interesting, but it's got to be interesting in reverse -- how do you even begin as a writer?

I bow down to you, Mr. Amis. You've done a spectacular job. From what I've read about this book (I'm not finished yet) is that it's a story about a Nazi doctor. So instead of going from the beginning to the end and trying to create a sympathetic story for a character that you're bound to hate, we go in reverse with the character's "soul" (very innocent, a bit non-committal about certain acts so far, but very honest in every sense) leading the way to the past.

If you've never thought of how a medical procedure would be in reverse (doctors as torturers instead of healers), then do so and you'll get what I'm taking about here. It makes you see things in a very different perspective (bars are where people drool, the act of going to the bathroom is more an act of receiving, taking a taxi usually takes you to places you don't want to be, etc.). The only thing I have a problem with is dialogue, so I'll read it the way it's written, and then I'll read it the opposite way so I make sure I'm not losing anything.

Very interesting read. A bit challenging, but worth it.

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