I received a review copy of David Albahari's Leeches a few years ago, and after reading the jacket copy the book sounded interesting, so I put it on my shelf for future reading but then mostly forgot about it. The other day I took the book down again and finally paged through it. Check out the photos above, from three different sections of the book. Anything look strange to you? That's right - no paragraph breaks. In fact, the entire book is a single, uninterrupted, 309-page paragraph. And with no quotation marks on any of the dialogue. Why the hell would somebody write something like this? Okay, maybe you can pass off the writing as artistic self-indulgence, but why would any publisher (presumably more clear-headed and practical) publish it? I know it's hard to differentiate yourself in a very crowded market for literature, but if you create something as convoluted as this to set yourself apart, and make it so difficult to read, what's the point? Knowing the endurance required to read something like this, and respecting my fellow commuters enough to spare them from having a book flung in their direction, I definitely won't be reading this one.
Jose Saramago's novels are much like this: no quotation marks, little punctuation, seemingly random paragraph breaks. But interesting stories nonetheless.
Posted by: Paul Lamb at Mar 7, 2013 5:29:29 AM
That's one reason I've been avoiding Blindness. My wife said it's a great book, but the prose looks daunting.
Posted by: Pete at Mar 7, 2013 1:15:04 PM