Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Five Dials

Forgot to take a book with me on the train today but averted a potential reading crisis by dipping into my print outs of the excellent and entertaining Hamish Hamilton Five Dials magazine.

Packed with short stories and interesting thoughts about fiction the free magazine is worth a download if you get the chance.

Some of the highlights I read today included a Guy De Maupaussant story in the Parisian issue (Number 8) and the thoughts of David Shields about fiction (issue 9).

Great quote from A Parisian Affair by De Maupassant which shows just how brilliantly he is at using a few words to paint a vivid scene is this:

"She ran from the room, flew down the staircase and flung herself out into the street.
Down it an army of sweepers was sweeping. They swept the pavements and the cobblestones, driving all the litter and filth into the stream of the gutter. With the same regular movement, like reapers in the field, they swept up all in a wide semi-circle ahead."

Also left pondering the view point of Shields in issue 9:

"I'm not drawn to literature because I love stories per se. I find nearly all the moves the traditional novel makes unbelievably predictable, tired, contrived and essentially purposeless. I can never remember characters' names, plot developments, lines of dialogue, details of setting. It's not clear to me what such narratives are supposedly revealing about the human condition."

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