The narrowing effect of technology on language itself is something I discussed with the novelist Joseph O’Connor, best known for the success of his 2003 novel Star of the Sea. ‘A friend recently showed me a really beautiful downloadable edition of Alice In Wonderland, full of gorgeously ticking clocks and a dormouse whose snores were audible, and it was amazingly impressive,’ he explained. ‘And yet. Joyce filled his books with music by learning to use words. The same with Proust or Márquez or Toni Morrison. I think if the author is doing a good job, you should be hearing the dormouse snore already. Too many novels are film scripts waiting to happen.’
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