Sarah Canary Q9 - 'We listen to stories and forget that the listening also tells the story.'

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Sarah Canary revisits a theme we've seen across several of the novels we've read here at the club, and that is that the reader of the story is just as important as the writer. Do you have a view on this? Has your opinion changed since we first discussed it? Answering after you've seen people's reactions to question 1, how well do you think this novel expresses this theme?

Comments

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    I can't quite remember what I said before, but my current position is that a reader inevitably trails into a book their own presumptions and prejudices. So reader responses to a book vary, and it's important that they do. In that sense, the way people in this novel responded to Sarah Canary is parallel to how readers respond to a book.

    That said, I do feel that authorial intent and design is crucial, and that a reader's response can be closer to or further from this. The author may not adequately capture all that he or she wants to say, or conversely his or her unconscious may do a better job of capturing it than anticipated, so there is fuzziness at the centre.

    So I suppose you could say that a particular reading is a blend of authorial intent and reader response... further complicated when we read as a group and so help each other to see facets of the book which our solitary reading had missed.
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    @RichardAbbott said:
    So I suppose you could say that a particular reading is a blend of authorial intent and reader response... further complicated when we read as a group and so help each other to see facets of the book which our solitary reading had missed.

    Yes, I especially liked this last bit. I'm not sure I could have drawn the conclusions I have about this book had we not first read The Book of the New Sun together. I've learned a lot from that exercise about how to read more deeply into a novel and to see patterns beneath the surface of the water.

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