Big words

I’m finally getting round to reading Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’, just starting the second of the trilogy ‘The Subtle Knife’.  One of the many positives is his free use of ‘big words’ – no dumbing down for anyone here never mind the young.  This reader was driven to the dictionary.  The last writer to do that for me was John Banville.  (Yes, the dictionary tells you how to pronounce ‘chthonic‘ but you need to glue your teeth well in!)

It being all that was available on the island, I bought the first part in the ‘book of the film’ format with  ‘The Golden Compass’ in larger brighter lettering than the original book title ‘Northern Lights’ but at least that appears on the cover.  I refuse to call Kineally‘s book ‘Schindler’s List‘.  Touch of the grumpy old woman, literary version! 

I envy Philip Pullman’s storytelling gift and look forward to settling in to books two and three of the trilogy.  I’m refraining from reading any interpretations until I’ve had a go at working out the significance of it all for myself.  I don’t often wish myself back in time but I’d love to have read this at age 12 or 13. 

3 Responses to “Big words”

  1. 1 abf January 14, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    This is what comes from not having had the benefit of a classical education. A good dose of Greek would inoculate you against excessive use of dictionaries. It doesn’t make you any wiser – just more verbose (or possibly logorrhoeic!).

  2. 2 chris January 15, 2008 at 12:13 am

    I love The Subtle Knife – the wonderful juxtaposition of the everyday and the extraordinary. And yes, I too would love to have been 13 when I read the books!

  3. 3 rosemary January 20, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    There are different skills in writing – Pulman has two of the most essential – a really pure imagination, and a huge skill with the manipulation of words. I admire Pulman’s invention, and his skill as a writer. I never warmed to his heroine at all, and found his world view – with its hostility to religion – almost impossible to swallow. These are not books I enjoyed.

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