I thought so. But, then, I’m apparently wrong. Michael Turner’s latest book, “8 X 10,” is written in what is described as an “esoteric” style. That seems to be a euphemism for, I don’t get a rat’s behind if you understand me.
The National Post interviews him and then writes up the interview in the style of the book. Just reading the interview will raise your hackles. Here’s his explanation of why he wrote the book the way he did:
"You have to, I think, disrupt the reader somewhat to get them to think. It's a risk, but it's something I feel I just have to do. And it's not my own self-indulgence. It's a considered upset."In other words, he’s not a bad writer. He did it on purpose. Here’s the interviewers take on the book:
It is a collection of fragments, echoes, whispers. We don't know the time or place, the year is a rumour heard then forgotten. Characters lack names, but are given professions: they are soldiers and stand-up comics and tailors and artists. They weave in and out of each others stories like spectres. Each chapter - or is it a scene? An event? - is prefaced by an 8 x 10 grid, with one cell shaded in, a map that guides us through the novel. There are eight characters and 10 events, or is it 10 characters and eight events?Turner says he didn’t want to write a book with “proper noun-age.” He also seems to dismiss anyone who doesn’t “get it.”
"Certain readers don't want a lot determined for them, just as I as a writer don't want my reader to be ... fixed in what they bring to the reading of my work. If the first thing they bring is, ‘I don't want to read it because...' well, f--- them."In case you’re wondering what press allowed him to publish with them…he’s published by Doubleday Canada.
I could be wrong. It may be a fascinating book. Based on this interview, though, I’ll pass.