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[personal profile] syredronning
After my Georgette Heyer flash, I re-read other former favorites of mine, namely the ten crime fiction novels by the Swedish author couple Sjoewall&Wahloo. (Unfortunately, they barely seemed to have been translated to English.)

What I still like about them:
- crisp and short
- effectual characterizations within a few paragraphs
- realistic in the way that not all of the police group involved like each other; some even acutely dislike each other, but they have to work together for a decade nevertheless
- the character evolvment over the ten novels
- great team work of the authors. Afaik, one of the couple wrote one chapter, then the next one took over. And you'd never know which one wrote which.

Weak points I perceive today:
- only little psychological insights
- political (socialist) critisicm that becomes stale due to its redundancy
- sentences too short, therefore not a really smooth reading for me

The "crisp and short" part is especially important for me - so many modern novels fall for "big is beautiful" and therefore expatiate the contents until they are just a soggy mass of textual plumpudding.

What about the old rule that every paragraph has to bring the story forward, or it's useless? I like to see auxiliary characters having an interesting background, but is it necessary to write five pages about someone who has a one minute appearance in the real string of the plot? Not in my opinion.

I like to get some of the psychological background, but it has to be fitting. I loved "The Sculpturess" by Minette Walters, but in her latest books, she also dealt interesting mystery with expediation. Is there a rule that each book has to be twice the thickness than the one before? Thinking of Harry Potter now too. Only a strong plot OR just a really good story can support a big book. Otherwise, KEEP IT SHORTER. Keep it meaningful. I wish editors would tell even their best-selling authors to throw away half their words. It would often be better.

Out of the top of my hat, there is only one book which I've read and wished it would have been longer. Jaoa Ubaldo Ribeiro's "Brazil, Brazil" (?, that's the German title, couldn't find the Engl. trans.). It is a great book until close to the ending, where the author obviously got the feeling "oh, gosh, it's big book, too big, now I must hurry to jump from 1800 to modern times on the last 50 pages". A real pity.

This said, I started reading The Crimson Petal and the White, which I bought 1.5 years ago at Frankfurt airport. It has a great writing style, but it's a damn big book...


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