The music and color of words

What happens in a work of fiction when the narrator gives up control over the characters? It's a provocative question answered in People of Paper, a work by Salvador Plascencia.

As mentioned previously, I've got a thing for magical realism, having read a great deal of John Cheever in college.

Thank you, Jon Hassler! 

I haven't read this book, so see this Boldtype mini-review. Salvador Plascencia apparently goes deep with People of Paper, folding themes within themes within themes.

I'm attracted to magical realism because sentences so often seem to work beautifully outside their role as builders of (magical) meaning. In some cases, they do not transcribe ideas so much as they sing or paint them, as in the opening line to One Hundred Years of Solitude, one of the best known works in the genre:

Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.

Even though this is translated from Spanish, I sometimes think I would take pleasure -- apart from the meaning of the words -- solely from reading them together, much as I derive meaning from music or a painted work of abstraction, because the music and color of the words approach one unexpectedly from outside the form.


Technorati tags: Jon Hassler, Salvador Plascencia, magical realism