Thursday, April 10, 2014

To go out of my dialect, which you

I've slowly been making progress on my latest book from the list, Their Eyes Were Watching God. I find I always seem to go pretty slowly when I first start a book, as I just haven't gotten wrapped up in the characters or the writing, and as a result don't feel as much of an inkling to read it.

In the case of this book, I'm finding myself reading even slower, because of the dialect the Southern, African-American characters speak. This is the same problem I've had with quite a few Southern novels, like Faulkner's two books, Go Tell It on the Mountain, and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

Because it's such a different version of English from my own, I sometime have trouble following what is being said unless I slow down, and really pay attention to the dialogue.

This isn't only a problem for Southern writing either; this was also what made The Sot-Weed Factor a bit of a slow read, and that was one I really liked. When trying to follow a conversation between two 17th-Century Englishmen, I again had to slow down my reading, to ensure I'd be able to understand what they were saying.

Having said all this, it isn't a negative about the book, only a negative about the speed with which I read it.


Before I selected this book for #73, I had been debating between it and White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I didn't have any real reason to choose one over the other, so I picked Their Eyes because it was due back at the library first. But it seems the fates have approved of my selection, as the book was featured in not one, but two clues in the Metro crossword this morning!

67 Across: Their ____ Were Watching God (1937 Novel by 51 Down)
51 Down: Zora _____ Hurston, Author of 67 Across

I don't know why this excited me so much, but it did. I felt a surge of pride, knowing that the book in these two clues was sitting right in front of me, and that I was actually reading.

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