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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Being Written

Being Written
by William Conescu
193 pages

On Friday I was feeling a bit frustrated with my current read (among other things) and decided to pick up a new book to read this weekend. Being Written has been calling to me for quite a while now and I decided to take the plunge. What a treat! I read the entire thing over the weekend, and would likely have read it in one sitting if I’d had the time.

*** The Summary ***

The hero of our story is Daniel. As he points out early on, most people have some sort of gift and he is no exception. You may be able to play the piano, or give motivating speeches, or run really fast but Daniel has a unique gift: he can hear the author writing. You see, Daniel realized a long time ago that he was merely an extra body in some author’s book. When the author needs the protagonist to bump into someone on the street, that person is Daniel. Or when the author needs to have a restaurant full of people, Daniel is one of those people. It’s not a pleasant realization, the fact that you are just an “extra”, but Daniel tells us he’s happier knowing than not.

On the off chance that the book he’s in turns out to be a thriller, Daniel decides to get in shape (you know, in case he needs to outrun a killer or something) and to read up on writing (in case he gets a chance to affect the outcome of a book). And in the meantime he goes on with his everyday life.

Then one day Daniel hears the author’s pencil while he’s in a bar and finds himself talking to a beautiful woman – the same woman who is being written about! Wherever she goes, the sound of the pencil follows her. This is it, he’s in another book!

Fearing that he’ll be written out quickly Daniel comes up with a plan that will keep the author’s attention on him and keep him in the book. The rest of Being Written follows Daniel as he puts his plan into action. I don’t want to say more than that or I’ll end up giving something important away!

*** What I Think ***

This book is unlike anything I’ve read before, and in a good way. It was intriguing and kept me guessing – and interested – throughout.

Each brief chapter focuses on a different character in the author’s book. Those chapters are told in the 3rd person. Then there are the chapters that focus on Daniel, on what he’s thinking and doing (even when the author is not writing about him). Those chapters are told in the 2nd person. That can be an awkward way to write but it totally made sense in this book.

I found it very interesting how Daniel rationalized his behavior by using the author as an excuse, or by justifying it as merely being part of the book. I’d love to discuss that with someone else who has read this – let me know if you have.

One reviewer is quoted on the cover saying “A white-knuckle thrill ride. You simply can’t put this book down once you’ve picked it up.” To me, that quote implies that this book is a thriller, with action at every turn. It is not, actually, but it IS fast paced and easy to get drawn into. I highly enjoyed it. And like I said, if I’d had the time I would have read it in one sitting.

*** Etc. ***

Some random things you might like to know ...

  • For those who like to know these things, there is some sex and some language in this book. The sex is not gratuitous but it is an integral part of the plot so it isn’t just glossed over either. It didn’t bother me any, but I know some of you would rather not read it.

*** Thank You ***

A big thank you to William Conescu for sending me a signed copy of this book. It was a great read and I wish you much success with it!

*** Other Reviews? ***

Have you read/reviewed this book? I’d love to add your link here – just let me know.

Book Notes enjoyed this book but A Novel Menagerie isn't huge fan. Booking Mama and Peace of Brain are though. What about you?


Julie P. said...

I thought this book was really good!

Funny thing -- I had to look up meta-fiction on wiki too!

Anna said...

Sounds like a very interesting book. I'll definitely have to check this one out.

Diary of an Eccentric

bermudaonion said...

Sounds like a good book. I'd never heard of metafiction either, so I appreciated the link.

Ken & Carol said...

OK you talked me into it, but I remain skeptical.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

This one sounds really interesting. I will have to check it out.

Dreamybee said...

This sounds fascinating! I had no idea what metafiction was either. Boy, aren't we all learning something today! it seems like this would be a difficult genre to take on, like it would either work really well or be a complete mess. Glad to hear Mr. Conescu's effort seems to have landed in the first category.

chris said...

I'm so jealous - you got a signed copy!!

I read this book last week and loved it!

softdrink said...

Sounds interesting...and I learned a new word! I had no idea meta-fiction even existed.

Sheri said...

I have to be the party pooper. One of my least favorite books of 2008. Sorry... but, I'm being honest.

Here's my review from last year:

Leon Basin said...

Thank you for such a great summarization. I appreciate it.

Heather J. said...

Julie, chris - thanks for leaving your links!

Anna - I'm happy to lend you my copy if you'd like. I'll bring it Saturday just in case.

bermudaonion, Dreamybee, & softdrink - don't you love learning new words?!

Ken&Carol - I'd be interested to see what you think if you do read it.

Robin - it is "different" for sure, but quite enjoyable

Sheri - thanks for the link, and don't worry, I love reading opposing viewpoints :)

Leon - thanks for stopping by

Anna said...

Thanks very much! I'm looking forward to meeting you!

Diary of an Eccentric

Joseph said...

Thank you for the review. Being Written was already on my TBR list, but it moved up after I read your review. I enjoyed it too. If I might suggest, another mind-bending metafictional novel you may enjoy is The Keep by Jennifer Egan.

Rebecca Reid said...

This sounds incredibly strange but very good!

Heather J. said...

Rebecca - It WAS odd, but good too!

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