1. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Blindness by Saramago- no dialogue quotations!

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by peachalulu, Feb 16, 2013.

    I just read Blindnss by Jose Saramago the other night, to see if it was as good as the movie. It was better.

    He's a Portuguese author and this work was translated back in 1997, but it had a super bizarre set up.
    No dialogue marks!
    Instead of "Nice to see you." Joe said.
    "You're looking well." Mary replied.
    It was -
    Nice to see you, you're looking well,
    Dialogue flowed, at times with no speech tags
    in a complete paragraph blog, with characters interrupting each
    other with only a comma between them.

    Has anyone seen this before? Is this a technique? I found it very, hard to read.
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Having no quotes isn't unique to Saramago, but having multiple characters speaking in the same sentence is. He's definitely hard to get used to at first, but it's not that bad as you read more of him. I thought this method of dialogue worked really work in Blindness because of the overarching theme. However, I had fixed feelings about it in his other books.

    By the way, did you noticed how he changed back and forth between past and present tense, sometimes in the middle of a paragraph?
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Yes! Plus the narrator would appear as if to speak to the reader and venture his own opinion - which I didn't really like I thought
    it was pushy and rather didactic.
     
  4. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    I haven't read that book, but Jeet Thayil did a similar thing in Narcopolis. I thought it really suited the dreamlike quality of the book, but I did see reviews criticising it for being a self-consciously trendy thing to do. Like you I did find it tricky to read, especially since the narrative is quite conversational anyway, and quite a few parts needed 2-3 attempts for me to get what was going on :p
     
  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    James Joyce experimented with dialogue without quotation marks. If I remember right, Cormac McCarthy did it too, in The Road. I'm sure many others have done it as well.
     

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