The point’s the thing (or, the end justifies the means)

 I am reading a fiction book I found in the bargain bin at my local bookstore – to protect the innocent, I will not mention its title here.  And there’s nothing wrong with being in the bargain bin – the classics are often there.  I recently picked up a hardcover Eco book there for a dollar.  It was The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, so arguably not one of his best works, but still.  And if I can get that for a dollar, anything I’m getting for $3.65 has some kind of worth.

It is more of an enjoyable quick read, but I still appreciate that type of fiction.  The thing that I don’t value about it is the way it portrays writers.  You see, it’s a frame story in places.  One of the characters is a writer who we see writing within the tale.  We even get to read some of her story.  The point of contention with me is that the writer of the frame story (who happens to be male) has the female writer in his work write the perfect story a chapter at a time with no revision.  None.

Now, the female writer inside the story is writing a children’s book, it’s true.  And while this does mean less  actual words to edit, and perhaps a different standard of writing, to believe this woman just writes and then sets aside her ‘perfect manuscript’ threatens my credulity.  Does the male author expect us to believe anyone can just slop it down for children’s fiction?  Did he, in writing the frame as well as the innards, do that children’s book section in one easy sitting?  I certainly hope not.

Perhaps I’m being to harsh.  Perhaps this particular work of fiction is driven to one specific message, and the details of realism occasionally slip aside.   Perhaps the superb rough-draft of this female writer is a firmer implication of the idea that she was ‘meant’ to write that story.  Perhaps it’s simply a case of the main point, the main end of the tale, overshadowing the smaller details.  However, at the end of the day, I would not consider Cesare Borgia in my friendship circle.  And I doubly don’t trust Machiavelli.  For that reason, I am hesitant to embrace their particular credo, even if skewed to fit a very different time and a very different set of circumstances.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: