Monday, June 04, 2007

Menand explains it all

In an essay on Michael Ondaatje, in the June 4 2007 New Yorker, Louis Menand writes:
There is a method of story writing that involves stripping the tale of every extraneous detail plus one, so that the non-extraneous bit becomes, in the reader's imagination, the piece that might explain everything. It's a formula for ambiguity. Kipling was expert at this; so was Hemingway.
This observation may be old hat to Alice and fellow lit scholars, but it feels revelatory to me. That's precisely how my mind works when reading a story.