Here’s a Big Q that’s not very relevant in the grand scheme of things … Can an author’s voice change the way you read his or her books? I’m not talking about their authorial voice, but their actual, y’know, voice. If Lee Child, say, had a fey, high-pitched tone with a lisp, and you heard him giving a reading, would that impact on how you ‘heard’ Jack Reacher when reading his novels?
I ask because Brian McGilloway is on RTE’s Arena arts show tonight (Wednesday, May 12th), yakking it up about his latest offering, THE RISING. Now, Donegal-based Brian is a mild-mannered teacher by day, and an equally mild-mannered crime writer by night, and his series protagonist, Inspector Benedict Devlin, is for the most part a mild-mannered Donegal cop. As it happens, I don’t hear Brian’s voice when I’m reading the Devlin novels, but it would be entirely appropriate if I did. Having heard James Ellroy perform in Belfast last year, on the other hand, will dramatically impact on how I ‘hear’ his characters next time I dip into an Ellroy novel.
Anyone have any glaring mismatches between an author’s voice and how their characters sound?
Meantime, there’s some nice reviews of THE RISING here, here and plenty more here. If you haven’t caught up with Brian McGilloway yet, THE RISING is the perfect place to start …
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.