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05 July 2016


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William R. Cumming

Richard! I hope the novel is finished by you!

Ed Walsh

You get points for taking on description of people on the margin of society, and for telling your story through their words, rather than via a narrator.

I don't feel I have seen enough character development to find any of these characters believable, or even sympathetic -- as in: I really care what happens to them. Not saying they cannot be believable, nor that someone like Ben could not be sympathetic. Just not enough development to cross some boundary in my mind.

In particular, I could not accept the sequence of emotions that Ben displayed, seemingly seriously on his guard about Malumphy's danger to him, then recklessly provoking him, then emotionally overcome by the realization of his danger. The progression seemed out of order and badly paced.

The presentation itself seems on edge (that is to say the author's attitude toward his own characters and their situation). In some ways that seems entirely appropriate. The characters seem to live on the edge (so sorry, but I lack a referent: edge of what? I don't know.) But I experienced this edginess when reading that segment. I was uncomfortable. Maybe you intend that. Maybe you never thought how a reader may react. I am just telling you what I can.

If you are going to make me suffer, you had better give me redemption, some cathartic release. This kind of comment supposes you are writing according to a plan. Maybe you don't write that way. Is every sentence a surprise to you? If you have a plan, it is apparent that you will have to maintain this uncomfortable tension for a good part of the story. Is this tension as central to the entire story as it is in this piece?

That exhausts the data for which this is an analysis. From this point on I just have questions and speculations. Hope this helps.

Richard Sale

It does.


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