Books Enhanced by Their Structures

The way in which authors decide to structure their books may have a huge impact on the final result. I’m unsure if structure is the correct term. But I mean the choices that writers make in terms of the order and the manner in which the narrative is presented to the readers, or the form used to tell a specific story.

There are three books, which I read in the latest years, whose structures were one of the highlights of my reading experience. I’m certain I wouldn’t have liked them as much as I did if the story had been told in a different way.

 

Jerusalém by Gonçalo M. Tavares

In this novel, the Portuguese writer Gonçalo M. Tavares delves into insanity and horror. The story is told from the perspectives of various characters – Ernst, Mylia, Theodor, Hanna and Hinnerk – and doesn’t follow a strict chronological order. The actions of the characters are not revealed in sequence but when they are useful for the narration. Each chapter reveals more information about either the past or the present, which helps the reader understand how the characters are connected with one another. This enhanced the story, because it kept me curious and guessing. Continue reading

‘High Tide’ by Inga Abele

My rating: 4 stars

Ieva is the main character in High Tide, but it’s only close to the end that she becomes fully fledged and relatable. Inga Abele wrote the book in more or less reverse chronological order, and, thus, Ieva’s present feelings and life decisions only make perfect sense near the end, when we finally have further knowledge about her past. In fact, uncovering Ieva’s personality is part of the appeal of this novel, which delves into how previous decisions can influence our outlook on life forever, although we can always try to do something to improve our situation.

At the beginning of the book, Ieva, a scriptwriter in her thirties, is taking one of her walks in a forest. The reader is presented with a vague life reminiscence, which doesn’t make much sense at first. Nevertheless, it’s wonderfully written and self-examining. She is in love again but rather wishes she wasn’t. Why is she so concerned about the possible consequences of falling in love? Her past is the answer to that question.

“She’s been overcome by a clean and pure love, and she’d like to reduce this fire to embers as soon as possible, so everything would once again be ruled by calm and the quiet crackle of coals deep in the ashes. This peaceful state is her favorite: cinders on the outside and a quiet movement in the depths, the hidden smoldering of the coals. She likes it, but it’s not possible to burn anything out faster than it’s meant to, life is fire, love is fire, and time is fire and warmth.”

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Book Haul – November 2018

I was unsure about whether to publish a book haul today or not, seeing that I’ve only bought four books this month and, although I ordered them more than two weeks ago, haven’t even received one of them. However, as I don’t plan to buy any more books this year, I decided to share them with you now anyway. All the books that I bought are for the ‘EU still 28’ reading project, and I really want to read them until the end of the year, which is fast approaching.

 

Census by Panos Ioannides

I have already started and am almost finishing reading this book by the Cypriot writer Panos Ioannides. Inspired by the Nativity of Jesus, it has as main characters Joseph and Maria Akritas, who decided to spend some time away at a small village. On their way there they met Michael, and their lives became even more complicated. I will share my thoughts on it soon.

 

High Tide by Inga Abele

Ieva is the main character in this novel, which is told in reverse chronological order. It spans three decades and delves into her relationships with her dead lover and her imprisoned husband. Besides it being a kind of psychological mystery, I know nothing more about it. Continue reading