Day 7 - Veep, Different ways to narrate a story in books

Um, 7 days and already I don’t have anything to talk about from today. I didn’t do a lot today, worked on my bachelor’s project for about 3 hours in the afternoon, a 2 hour class before that, and nothing before that really.

I watched the fourth season of Veep, hence reaching the point where the race is literally tied between Selina and O’Brien. Which means season 5 should be pretty good fun.

The 9th episode which was the one with only the hearings in it, well, that was perhaps the best episode in the TV series! There were so many jokes in it, with Jonah and Richard Splett and the whole hearing with Amy’s dress and the Congresswoman. It was absolutely hilarious.

Now that I have said a few things about that, I need to talk about something else again. I started reading All the Missing Girls - Megan Miranda yesterday, and I am about 60 pages into that book, and it is okay till now. Nothing major happened yet, or maybe it did, I didn’t feel like anything major happened yet. There are a few things about narration of stories in books that I have learned over the past year that I have been continously reading books.

There are some books which are narrated linearly, in the forward direction. There are no shenanigans here, the book starts on day 1 of the story, the premise is set, the story happens, and there’s a climax (well, usually there is a climax). There are a lot of good examples of this. Personally, I love books that create characters that are bigger than the story. It doesn’t matter where in the story the characters fit, but what the characters are and how they are going to propel the story forward. The seminal book in this matter is most certainly Secret History by Donna Tartt. Funnily enough, I finished reading this book on December 24, 2015, exactly one year and two months ago. I still remember it. I have remembered it throughout the year, I have raved about it to a lot of people at a lot of times, I have also talked about Henry and Camille (who is one of my favourite book characters) to everyone I know. That’s the kind of book and character that I want to read when I am reading a linear book.

Some other good examples in the Psychothriller genre are Gone Girl and A Girl On The Train, both books were properly narrated in the normal fashion. No shenanigans, and no weird cannons on the narrating technique. I would say both of them turned out fine.

The other way to tell a story is to tell it non-linearly, forward or backward, it doesn’t matter. You jump from places and points in time to other places at other points in time. It’s incredibly disconcerting, and generally, it’s not worth the effort of keeping up unless it’s 1. really well written or 2. the story or characters or both have gotten you absolutely hooked. Catch-22 is a good example. I will be being rather honest when I say that I didn’t really enjoy that book because it was full of crazy people, people who had gone bat-shit crazy from having been at war for too long. There was not one sane person in the whole book by the end of the book. That’s not something that I like to read about, I read it anyway, because I had to read a book that was so popular and lauded by everyone. It’s narration was non-linear. Things happened, the first 200 pages hardly have made sense to anyone. Eventually, the loops start closing and the story starts to make sense, but then the craziness getst o you. Read at your own risk.

The present book All the Missing Girls is actually neither of these. Theoretically, (atleast from my knowledge of math), it is a linear book. It goes 1 day at a time, but in the backward direction. Essentially, it is something like Memento. I want to say Fight Club, but I am not really sure I should because that was not really backwards, that was definitely more on the non-linear side. She has gone through the events of Day 1. Something happens on the night of Day 1 and the lead player, Nicolette, which is a fantastic character name by the way, loses it. Then, we are shown Day 15, then Day 14, and so on, until we wind back down to the night of Day 1 and what happened which triggered it all off. I am curious to see how she is going to manage to hide as much as she can about the events of that first day. It will be interesting to see!

(P.S. I don’t know anything about books or literature or anything of that sort except for what I learned from reading a few books. So, you should probably not take into account any of that. I do hope that you had fun reading about it and were inspired into reading Secret History as I was by this amazing review)

Um, so that’s about 800 words. I can’t really muster up anything else from today, because honestly I didn’t do anything worthy of writing about at all! I guess I should try to put more effort into this. Perhaps, I should end with 2 scenic photos of this new lab that I am going to be working at for my bachelor’s thesis, and the road that leads to this lab:

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