Monday, March 22, 2010

Booking It--Sensual

Which do you prefer? Lurid, fruity prose, awash in imagery and sensuous textures and colors? Or straight-forward, clean, simple prose?

(You thought I was going to ask something else, didn’t you? Admit it!)

Well, both. But not at the same time.

I do like to wallow in "sensuous" prose, to marvel at the skillful use of language, at image and metaphor, at sensory detail and poetic diction. The last novel I've read that I'd describe as having sensuous prose is The Historian. Actually, if you've been following my blog, you'll know I listened to it as an audiobook. I chose the unabridged version (26 hours 8 minutes) over the abridged version (11 hours 42 minutes), and I'm really glad that I did--for this very reason. As I lost myself in the beautiful descriptions, the philosophical musings, and the detailed correspondence in which characters spoke not only of the events of life but also revealed their feelings and musings, I realized exactly what I would have missed if I'd chosen the abridged version. Oh, I'd have gotten the plot all right, but not the descriptive digressions, the historical interpolations, all the nuances that make good literature so much more than plot.

I'd say that Nabokov's prose is sensual (at least in Lolita), and so is Ian McEwan's in Atonement. Any sensual prose writers that you'd like to suggest?

No comments: