DP Challenge: Seductive Language

There are many good writers out there; a few of them published and even less become truly successful. However, there will always be those whose writing sticks in your head so persistently that you find it completely impossible to pick up another book for days, perhaps weeks. To me, this is the sign of a remarkable book. As you hungrily read the last page, the last paragraph, the last word you can spend a few treasured moments wallowing in contentment, allowing not only the story to wash over you but the language.

Of course, eventually you will be hit with a wave of loss. You are now spoiled for any other writer; nothing can wipe away the memory of that authors’ exquisite writing. You find yourself smiling to yourself at odd moments as parts of the plot rush back to you, or perhaps you realise people around you resemble the characterisations intimately described in the book.

One such book would be ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen. I know you can argue the language is only so seductive as it represents a by-gone era of chivalry, romance and culture but you can’t help but lose yourself. The first chapter starts:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered the rightful property of some one or other of their daughters.”

However sexist it is, I can’t help myself but settle back in my chairs, snuggle down and smile, knowing I am in for a satisfying ride in a society which may seem familiar and yet never fails to surprise and amuse as the lives of Elizabeth, Jane and of course the enigmatic Mr. Darcy unravel in a tale of love, betrayal, snobbery and tradition.

In a way modern authors will struggle to compete which such style as they draw upon modern experiences and modern language, neither of which enchants the reader as effectively. Of course this is different for different people, do any authors have this affect on you?

More modern books which have stayed with me include ‘The Kite Runner’, a fascinating tale of a young man who escapes Afghanistan as a boy only to return later in search of redemption and acceptance. This tale, told by Khaled Hosseini, portrays Afghanistan as it once was – a country of beauty, friendship and community – before it was torn apart by war and conflict.

Sometimes it is the style of writing, sometimes the plot, or the message behind the words that attracts you to a story and causes it to remain with you. Shivers travel down you spine as quotes or the general tone or style returns at odd moments. This is the sign of a truly remarkable achievement all writers aspire to but few ever attain. Sadly for most it will not occur until after their death as new language emerges which eventually renders their style mysterious and unattainable.


12 thoughts on “DP Challenge: Seductive Language

  1. I agree with you. A novel that ‘did it for me’ is ‘Wuthering Heights’. I first read it in 1981 and didn’t really ‘get it’. I know that I didn’t get it because I re-read it again last year. Wow! Absolutely stunning. Such passion, I kept thinking about it even when I wasn’t reading it. It left me with a feeling of. . . can’t really think of adequate adjectives. Don’t worry too much if it doesn’t really affect you now – return to it in 30 years, it will!

  2. Enjoyed reading this. It reminds me of a book which sadly I can’t recall the name of now. Read it some time ago, the writing was wonderful, made me fall in love with the power of a beautifully constructed sentence and the writing was the only reason I finished the book because the story started well then fell apart. It has always struck me as something akin to a crime, beautiful writing used to convey an empty story 🙂

    • Mmm that is a crime, such a shame but more rewarding than a good story horribly written because then you want to know what happens but just can’t bring yourself to read it as it makes you cringe 😀 Thanks for reading & commenting

    • I thought the film was pretty good considering how normally films leave so much out the stories are hardly recognisable as one and the same. P&P the film used a few direct quotes and although a few characters are missed none are fundamental to the plot. But then that’s my opinion 🙂

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