"Immersion in the life of the world, a willingness to be inhabited by and to speak for others, including those beyond the realm of the human, these are the practices not just of the bodhisattva but of the writer." --Jane Hirshfield

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Original of Laura: A Novel in Fragments

I was browsing this in the local bookstore. It's actually fragments of a novel. It's printed with a facsimile of Nabokov's writing on index cards you can tear out, and type underneath of the same text. Which amounts to, although it looks like a big book, it's mostly white space because of the heavy stock and the format. I wonder if they think we are going to put the cards in order ourselves, play with his story?

The idea of being able to move pieces of writing around is appealing, that's why we have word processors. I can't see using index cards, tho. Wouldn't typed pages do just as well? Unless you were committed to writing the whole thing by hand and making your edits by hand on the cards. It'd work if you had a spouse who did all your typing, like Vera.

Upshot: I think the notes-for-book-in-cards is a weird concept. A marketing idea that has no use. Fluff. Anti-Nabokovian. What's next? A novel on Post-its? That's the way we'll be seeing Twitter novels, no doubt. I don't think the facsimile/type idea is a bad one, but tear-out cards, really.

Did the word processor make the typing wife obsolete? Discuss.
Bonus points if you tore out the pages of Hopscotch and rearranged the text as Cortazar suggested.

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