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View Diary: Bookflurries-Bookchat: What Makes a Writer become a Favorite Author? (165 comments)

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  •  "Is this the right room for an argument?" (5+ / 0-)

    "I told you once."

    I refuse to address your criticism directly, in case you win. To address it properly, I'd have to reread Ulysses, with special attention to the "Nausicaa" chapter, and see how it feels under careful examination. I do know, I give Joyce the benefit of any doubt in judging Ulysses, because he's exploding in all directions at once - he reaches for the heaventree of stars hung with humid nightblue fruit.

    What is a flawless novel? What must you get right, to have no major flaws? We could start with plf515's list below:

    I think there are many qualities that go into making a book good, and you list many of them: Dialogue, plot, character development, good choice of words, good syntax etc.
    We could add more necessaries and desirables. There must be at least a dozen areas where, if an author is notably deficient there, we'll spot the gap.

    There are authors who aim for flawlessness. I think Flaubert did, with Madame Bovary - and many tried to emulate that work. Then there's another way to write, where you store up people, places and ideas, and words, words, words, until they burst out in one great flood of inspiration. If you've got what it takes, you end up with Moby Dick.

    I love and admire Ulysses, because I think Joyce achieved both of these methods in the same book.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Wed May 01, 2013 at 06:05:53 PM PDT

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    •  Heh, no worries... like I said: just poking. (5+ / 0-)

      Using your examples, I think Ulysses straddles the line between the perfection of Madame Bovary (which IS perfect!) and the recklessly awesome craziness of Moby Dick.  At its best, every combination of words seem carefully crafted for maximum effect: then we have alcohol nightmares, histories of the English language, and fart jokes.  It's got everything.  It's just the best.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Wed May 01, 2013 at 06:10:22 PM PDT

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      •  Agree. He had ambition, such craftsmanship, that (5+ / 0-)

        knack for making English sing, and throughout his career he seemed to know just what he wanted. So I assume Finnegans Wake is the very book he needed to write.

        But oh how I wish instead he'd written three more Ulysses, daring but more readable - perhaps a mystery, an SF, and a savage satire.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Wed May 01, 2013 at 06:38:26 PM PDT

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