Jessie: In New Hampshire where the birds sing that it is spring
During the month of April, our theme is Prose and Cons. Great prose, at least to me, is one of the hallmarks of novels I want to reread even though I know how the story ends. Which book or books, would you reread just for the beauty of the language?
Julie: Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides. Persuasion by Jane Austen. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. These are four that came to mind. I love beautiful words, and prose that makes me jealous because of its beauty.
Edith/Maddie: These aren’t classics like Julie’s, but whenever I read a book by either Catriona McPherson or Julia Spencer-Fleming, I say to myself, “I wish I could write like her.”
Liz: I’m going to also point to current authors. I think Tana French has such a compelling way with language and aspire to write like her. Also R.J. Ellory has a style that I find gorgeous – A Quiet Belief in Angels is the best example of this.
Sherry: I have to agree with Julie that I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is a book that sticks with you. More recent reads that made me think “I wish I’d written that line” include Like A Sister by Kellye Garrett, Death at Greenway by Lori Rader-Day, and Necessary Blood by Deborah Crombie.
Barb: I agree that great prose is a key to a great novel or short story. It’s an understanding of the rhythms and complexities of language, the use of le mot juste, the seductive voice that whispers, “Follow me. I am going to tell you a great tale. Not one second of your attention will be wasted.” Prose is great because of what it does-deepens character, illuminates setting, tells story. For the perfect words in the perfect order on the perfect page, I am going to go with a short story writer, Alice Munro. I don’t need to reread her stories. They’re still with me.
Jessie: I love all of your answers and am so glad I asked the question! I have reread The Shipping News by Annie Proulx, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel and several novels by Fannie Flagg for the prose. Beautiful prose us one if life’s great pleasures!
Readers: Which book or books, would you reread just for the beauty of the language?