“The story? The characters devour the story.”
Just read Rick Moody’s suspiciously effusive review of Charlie Smith’s Three Delays. I get the feeling that Moody wants every living writer to go out and read Three Delays, and I am not sure if I will, but I like this idea of the characters devouring a story. It reminded me of a book I recently read– Mrs. Bridge by Evan S. Connell.
A friend told me to read Mrs. Bridge a few years back and I asked what the book was about. She said something like, “Oh, it’s just about Mrs. Bridge, who lives in Kansas and is married and has three children and a maid and a big house and she is faintly unhappy all the time.”
(I should mention that this recommendation was given while we were at a Halloween Party and my friend was dressed as Mrs. Bridge and she had gone through some trouble to get the 1940’s style costume; she loved the book that much.)
But despite the recommendation from a person dressed as the title character, Mrs. Bridge sounded a little dull and already-been-done-before so I told myself I wouldn’t read it because I felt like I had read it already, thirty times over.
But a copy of Mrs. Bridge found me while I was traveling, desperate for a book. And it was awesome. It’s of a breed of book that I think is rare– a book that relies nearly 100% on the emotional life of a single character even without being in first person. The character devours the story.
So yeah, I know I should probably take Moody’s recommendation. Or I guess I can just wait for Three Delays to corner me in a dark alley, years from now.