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Alex Good review of Combat Camera

November 1, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Alex Good at goodreports.net has posted a review of Combat Camera, one that has improved my mood immeasurably.

Amidst all the ongoing kerfuffle about reviewing, negative and otherwise, it seems we forget what a review should do: dig into the book and report on what you find. As a writer, you put a lot of things into a novel, and are left to wonder if anyone will ever make the effort to pull them back out. Perhaps more gratifying than a positive review is one that takes the damn book seriously enough to devote itself to exploring how it works. (Or, in defence of negative reviews, how it falls short. Evaluation is inevitable.)

So I was happy to see Good’s discussion of the opening paragraph:

It’s worth taking a moment to stop and appreciate this. Aside from the stylish way that the strange and unlikely word “frangible” itself breaks into alliterative shards like fraught, fracture and fragments (a trick that’s repeated in the novel’s final paragraph, with its slick, sliding, and slippery words), it’s nice to see the dated image of the kaleidoscope (does anyone actually remember using these?) doing some real work as it’s paired with the cracked windshield to describe the splintering of light through glass. And note also how a “tableau” is an artistic arrangement, a static presentation of reality or picture, thus making the windshield a frame for the grimy reality of Zane’s life. His mind is a camera, and his car is too.

It’s a pleasure to have been read closely.

And yes, I remember playing with a kaleidoscope.

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