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  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Anj at 15:02 on 15 December 2004
    Shyama, my point wasn't so much MH as an author-celebrity or why he came up with that specific idea, but the issue of writers using issues that cause real pain as mere plot devices.

    As another example - happily it's faded a bit now, but something that really bugged me for a few years was when child sexual abuse really hit the headlines about a decade or so ago - at first, dramas/novels incorporating them were about exploring the issue; but that seemed to degenerate into a spate of dramas/novels in which childhood abuse became just the key to the mystery - she killed him because in the past he'd abused her daughter etc - ie nothing more than a plot device.

    If an author is using another's difficulty just to progress their writing, that makes me uncomfortable.
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Amos at 15:04 on 15 December 2004
    Hey, what about a book about a best-selling author suffering from tourettes who laughs at inappropriate times?

    "I banked my cheque from the publishers today. Later I bought a new BMW. A brown one. On the way home through the housing estate - I like housing estates. I like seeing people who have less than me - I saw an old lady being hit on the head by a young man. I think he probably takes drugs. I pissed myself laughing."
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by scoops at 15:17 on 15 December 2004
    Amos - It made me laugh out loud. I'll buy it:-)
    Anj I'm torn over your question. I think we all absorb so much information that new issues and concerns that are being publicly debated, necessarily find their way into fiction. That's a good thing.
    If I thought writers deliberately went out of their way to exploit individual stories, I would became anxious about the ethics therein, but to refashion what's on people's minds is quite different. With abuse, I would argue that the inclusion of victims or abusers in plot lines helps open up debate or, at the very least, demystifies an area of debate which was once taboo. Even if the price of currency is that some books will read as hackneyed or gratiuitous, I think it's a small price to pay. It is more honest and ultimately more empowering to challenge creative boundaries than police them.
    The same is true of gay fiction and racial novels and all types of human, and human behaviour, that may historically have been off limits. That's what I think, but I await the firing squad:-) sxx
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Anj at 15:55 on 15 December 2004
    Dav, I am not worthy. But yes, you can have a fag ...

    Shyama, yup, that issues are being publicly debated is a good thing - like I said about TCI, one of my responses was good that it's raising the profile of A/A: and the same applies to sexual abuse, and many other issues. To ignore those issues is to ignore the people they affect.

    So I'm not talking about policing creative boundaries, I'm talking about writers treating difficult issues with the respect they deserve - and using an A/A narrator simply because you think their "flat, emotionless, neutral" voice would make your scenario funny or dismissing the criticisms of someone with A/A as "missing the point" seems to me to be slipping towards the wrong side of the line.

    I don't think it's easy to determine where the line is, but I do think there is one.
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Al T at 16:08 on 15 December 2004
    Dav, no fags from me (even if I smoked them). Christopher is a lonely kid with a fractured family life who just wants everyone to get on and be happy - what's not to sympathise with?

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by scoops at 16:10 on 15 December 2004
    Anj, I thought the book stood on its own and wasn't at all exploitative. Retrospectively, because we've read a throw away comment by the writer, who may well have been pissed off with the interviewer and wanted to irritate him/her, or feeling in the mood to be difficult, we're now asking if the narrative was exploitative. It's why I think we should forget about the writers and stick with the text:-)
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Anj at 16:24 on 15 December 2004
    Shyama, I thought you said you found the book easy to put down and forget

    He didn't seem very pissed off to me, indeed he seemed pretty cheerful. But I take your point. That's why I initially went to read his interview - re the dog comment, I wanted to see it in context, because we all say stupid things that aren't quite what we mean.

    However, I can't dismiss what I'm talking about as a stupid throwaway remark, quickly regretted, because it was a recurrent theme.

    Re the text, I didn't say there was anything in the text itself that was exploitative, in that he wasn't cracking unsavoury jokes about people with A/A, I said the reasons behind his using an A/A narrator might have been - and that I think writers should be aware of their motives for using these kinds of issues. But we're obviously not going to agree on this. There we go.

    Take care


    PS I'm not only asking the question because in retrospect his comments made me wonder if his use of A/A was exploitative - as I said, I wondered that at the time and his comments seemed to confirm it
  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Skippoo at 12:23 on 21 December 2004
    Sorry for coming back to this a year later (blame my deceased hard drive).

    I just want to quote myself from earlier:
    Autism is one of the most wide-ranging conditions there is
    . The name 'autism' covers a wide spectrum of disorders, and even within the narrower definition of Aspergers, symptoms vary greatly (to make it more problematic definitions also differ depending on what 'experts' you speak to where).

    Therefore, one kid not identifying with the book doesn't mean much!

    Autism (including Aspergers) is massively on the increase. More research needs to be done on how to deal with it and lots of autistic kids are getting bullied/mistreated by other kids and teachers (like my nephew, for e.g.) because their condition is not understood.

    Therefore anything which helps draw attention to the condition and shows some ways in which an autistic kid is misunderstood by others is a good thing as far as I'm concerned (whatever the author's intentions). Yeah, the book uses humour to do this, but hundreds/thousands of readers still found the character sympathetic, and the humour is what made the book a success, therefore bringing autism to the attention of even more readers).

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Al T at 18:46 on 21 December 2004
    Hi Cath, I'm sure you know much more about Asperger's than the typical reader of this book. I knew nothing at all about it before I read this novel, so, apart from enjoying it on an emotional level I also felt I learnt something. However, I read it primarlily as fiction not as a disguised medical textbook, and I would imagine that's how the author intended it to be read.

    Anyway, I hope everyone's calmed down enough to enjoy the holidays (whether they spend it singing carols in church, indulging in pagan rites ot just getting quietly sloshed by the fire) and that your hard drive has recovered.

  • Re: The Curious Incident of the Book with no Metaphors
    by Skippoo at 12:06 on 23 December 2004
    I hope to be getting sloshed by various fires (and then putting them out with my tears of joy at the end of 2004)!

    Hope you have a good one too, Adele and everyone else!

    Cath x
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