by thea marie
A journal of items that I am reading/ have read: a personal commitment for 2008
| Sweet Land Stories
by E.L. Doctorow
A collection of five intriguing short stories about people caught up in unusually trying circumstances. Three of the tales were written in first person, a perspective that I find very hard to tell a story from when I write. Doctorow doesn't seem to have any trouble with it. His characters are genuine in their narrations.
It was interesting and educational to observe how Doctorow gets down into his characters, their emotions, dialects, mannerisms, grittiness, craziness, flaws, and the way each one views his world. He writes a young person being influenced by his conniving mother (who at one point he is instructed to refer to as "aunt") as convincingly as he does a saavy, but burned-out FBI agent.
I also noticed that Doctorow dispenses with the use of quotation marks and speech tags when writing dialogue, but not once was I tripped up or confused about which character was speaking. Talk about style and being effective with it.
This book was a good style and use of perspective study for me as well as an entertaining read.