Thursday, September 12, 2013

Booking Through Thursday: Imagery

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How much do you visualize when you read? Do you imagine faces for the characters? Can you see the locations in your mind’s eye? Or do you just plunge ahead with the story, letting the imagery fall to the wayside?

Interesting question! – I’ve actually just been thinking about this, while reading the book that has me engrossed just now (I’m only about half way through, so no spoilers in the comments, please!):  The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith – pseudonym for J.K. Rowling (as I already knew when I bought it).

This book is the first crime novel in what is to be a series featuring private investigator Cormoran Strike, a war veteran; and the setting is London.

Knowing the author to be J.K. Rowling, it’s no great surprise to find her conveying vivid visual images to the reader, as well as using a rich and varied vocabulary in general.

I do think it often depends quite a lot on the author’s intentions and skill to describe things (and people), how clearly I come to visualize them during reading.

It’s been too long since I visited London (back in my teens, and only briefly) for me to have a clear idea of the exact geography referred to (street names etc); but I do have an inner image of Strike’s office, and certain other places so far important to the story; and also of Strike himself and various other characters. (Enough, I think, to be able to have an opinion about how well the casting was done if it’s ever turned into film!)

Robin caught the door before it closed on the dingy stairwell. An old-fashioned metal staircase spiralled up around an equally antiquated birdcage lift. Concentrating on keeping her high heels from catching in the metalwork stairs, she proceeded to the first landing, passing a door carrying a laminated and framed poster saying Crowdy Graphics, and continued climbing. It was only when she reached the glass door on the floor above that Robin realised, for the first time, what kind of business she had been sent to assist. Nobody at the agency had said. The name on the paper beside the outside buzzer was engraved on the glass panel: C. B. Strike, and, underneath it, the words Private Detective.

Galbraith, Robert (2013-04-18). The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike) (Kindle Locations 190-195). Little, Brown Book Group. Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

 

13 comments:

  1. this is one i would like to read, and i read that paragraph and now i have the whole thing visualized in my head. including what kind of heels she has on that are stuck.
    i always visualize the way they look and where they are and now sometime i run in here to Google map and look at the place where they are. just last week reading about a detective in LosAngelas working at Parker Center, the description fascinated me so i used G earth to look at the building. i even have a couple of times when they are listening to a song in the book I come look it up and listen to it. once i looked up a painting they were describing in an art museum...

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    1. Oh, good idea with Google Earth! I think I might do that after I've finished this book... Go back and look up some of the street names etc to see if I can find them. (She might of course have rearranged details a bit for the sake of fiction.)

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    2. I've been obsessed with Google Earth lately....for other reasons. But what a great idea!

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  2. How intriguing that J. K. Rowling would "disguise" this series with a name so different from her own...unlike other authors who retain a part of their original name.

    Love the excerpt...and now I'll be watching for your review.

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    1. There is an explanation for her choice of pseudonym at the Robert Galbraithe website I linked to above. She obviously wanted to test how well the book would sell without her fame from a completely different genre attached to it. It seems it did rather well on its own, for an unknown author; but the secret leaked out sooner than she'd hoped for.

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  3. When I read a book, I always have an image in my head of how the characters look. Sometimes it is based on the author's description. And then if I go to see the movie, by do I get a SHOCK!!! Of course no one looks like I had imagined my beloved characters!

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  4. I have never read anything by J.K. Rowling. I really must get round to reading a few.

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    1. I suspect this one might be most to your liking, Adrian - even if I haven't finished it yet.

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  5. I've been in so many places like that in my time! Not detective agencies, though, I'll admit. Just ordinary offices.

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  6. I think I'll give this one a try and order it online.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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    1. I noticed when buying mine for Kindle that there was a separate American edition. It kind of made me curious how much (if anything) might differ between them. (Remembering that with the first Harry Potter book the American publisher changed the title from The Philosopher's Stone to The Sorcerer's Stone)

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  7. Usually, I see the characters of a book and the settings of a story, and often also can hear their voices. Of course, the author's skill in describing people and places, in giving true atmosphere to a story, has a lot to do with it. If I can not at all relate to the characters and find it difficult to visualize them, I rather not keep on reading the book.

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  8. As someone with virtually no ability to hold images in my head I rely almost totally on words for descriptions. I don't use them to create images as such though.

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