Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sunday Story - Coal Creek

Coal CreekAlex Miller is one of my favourite authors and his newest book came for my birthday. Coal Creek blew me away as soon as I started to read it. I'll try to articulate some of my thoughts.

It's written in first person, which is not too strange especially after Autumn Laing.

It's written using the vernacular that an uneducated man would use. Like, "I went out to see Ben a couple of times but he never said nothing to me about his time in Stuart [a gaol]..."

It's rural, mystery, romance, life, coming of age. Lots of themes that isn't too unusual for Alex Miller.

It's Australian, really beautifully rural Australian.

The writing (using how the man would speak) is incredible. I haven't noticed a slip. But I'm undecided how I feel about using it. It's a skill to tell a story in this way, and to write in such a way and keep it authentic. But why? Why would you choose to write like this?

I am going to go check out reviews and interviews to see if Alex Miller explains his choice. But before I do I'm going to make some guesses here. I think he's going for an authenticity, and Bobby Blue became so strong, Miller had to tell the story in this manner, like he did with Autumn Laing.
That's my guess.

I have a niggling concern about using such a technique that it sets up to ridicule a man who isn't well educated or well-spoken. But I can't see Miller having such a thought, he's too honest a story-teller. However, the typeset of the book is at 1.5 or 2 line spacing, which is not customary in a book, and led me to this thought.

So now I have those thoughts off my chest, I'll head back to Coal Creek and to investigating the story behind it.

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