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In This issue... Narrator Style in Your Novel


Can narrator style make a novel successful? ... (continued below)

Narrator Style in Your Novel, by Bruce L. Cook

Can narrator style make a novel successful?

Consider Barbara Kingsolver’s 2022 book, Demon Copperhead.

The casual reader might object to this characterization of Dicken’s David Copperfield. However, the book has been well received. Kingsolver is an author who pops up in Oprah’s Book Club. Check Molly Young’s October 20, 2022, review in New York Times.

Starting this read, one is satisfied with structural elements of conflict, setting, characterization, history plot– as well they would be with David Copperfield.

But, surprise! This book absolutely stands out when it comes to narrator style. If for no other reason, the reader is spellbound with the voice of narrator Damon Fields, whose language so perfectly reflects southwest Viriginia in the 80’s. It’s like understanding a dialect when you just understand a foreign language. Damon’s expression has vivid imagery.

I’m not the only reviewer that noticed this. Consider the review in Goodreads by Liz (December 12, 2022). Quoting: “OMG! The language! [Kingsolver’s] way with words is beyond description.”

Perhaps this isn’t completely new, as anyone reading Samuel Clemens would know. But I didn’t expect it in current fiction.

This novel has admirable characterization, setting, and even plot, but what makes it really stand out is the main character’s expression, and he is the narrator.

Take a look at this book and try to infuse your own fiction with high imagery in dialogue. It’s well worth your time!

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--Bruce Cook, Publisher


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Publishing New Writers,

April, 2023 (vol. 24, no. 4)


Dr. Bruce L. Cook
1407 Getzelman Drive
Elgin, IL 60123

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