Inside a book!

I have just finished Identity by Milan Kundera and it occurred to me that at times i felt as if i was inside the book.

I get this regularly does anyone else and in what books?


Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler did it in crime writing very well, Philip Kerr is doing the same with Bernie Gunther very well. They allow me to be Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe or Gunther and still be a reader outside. Mind you, one has to watch out for bullets, blackjacks and burly thugs in general whilst being in there ;-)

I react like Susan often. I find myself in there doing a 'Come on, come on' as if I really can persuade characters to do as I would and have a strange sensation of satisfaction when they do. I too have felt it with Tom Wolfe because his work invites it. Many authors do not.

It is perhaps what makes particular authors' writing work for some of us and not for others.

Anne Tyler, where would the world be without Anne Tyler? I adore her writing.


Writing in the first person for me can be a mistake. If it's the third person, then I see the story through many eyes and become one of the characters, even if a bystander who takes no part in the action.

Sometimes while reading a novel I have the strange feeling that the character thinks, feels and reacts just as I would. I'm reading a book by Anne Tyler now where that's happening. She must be about my age and lives in Baltimore Maryland which is near to where I grew up so that may be a clue to my reaction. I've also felt that with certain Tom Wolfe books.

I know what you mean Ross. Some authors writing in the first person make me feel as though I am the character and see through his or her eyes. Other books draw me in so that I am a spectator in a world that creates itself as the author describes them, especially ones that use familiar places.

I'm not completely sure what you mean. Maybe you could give us a greater explanation.

I know that if I read a very good novel, one I'm really enjoying, I can see the characters as if I'm watching a film.