On Reading On

I am, again, trying fiction — reading it, that is, not writing it. I am generally impatient with fiction, hard to please, difficult to lure, short-tempered with sentiment and many kinds of subject matter. I’m more than halfway through the book, and at this point, I, the reader, now know more than the main protagonist. I know the answer to the question he is asking. I wonder about a possible surprise twist — and if I wonder, then it is no longer a surprise. I am not particularly attached to any of the four main characters, and already have a sense of their fates. Yet I want to read on. Why is that?

How has the author created a world that has, in many ways, been painful to read about — Turkey during the Armenian genocide — with characters who are not lovable, particularly, and a plot whose greater trajectory is pretty clear, and yet I linger for the details? The writing itself has not intruded on my consciousness as being either particularly good or not good. But I guess the author has made it interesting enough that I want to see the entire weave, to see how the whole fabric of the story lines come together. And I am interested to know what the main character will do once he discovers what I already know.

This was an interesting tactic, to be so obvious with the plot, and yet create enough tangle of warp and weft that the whole weave is not yet entirely evident, the pattern not fully exposed. So kudos to you, Aline Ohanesian, for deftly wrapping me in the story, snug, a bug in a rug.

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