Tuesday, September 18

I Demand You Bring Me My Chapters

Ahh, chapters... Long, short, falling off at the sides and calling themselves somethingalogues. I love reaching the end of a chapter. It feels like a milestone, an accomplishment, a -

WHERE IS MY CHAPTER?

I have discovered the unappealing existence of books that have no chapters. These aren’t novellas. They are no waifs. They are thick presences that swallow you up and show you just how long the intestine really is.

Okay, I'm being cruel. There is nothing inherently wrong with a book that has no chapters. It may be the most solid piece of awesome ever to be written. I, however, am unlikely to get stuck in because an endless chasm of words frightens me. It might have brilliant structure and be unnoticeable once I start but all I can see is a pancake pile of paragraphs.

WHERE ARE MY CHAPTERS?

They're my safety nets, my golden stars. I cling to my life savers.

Yes, I am over dramatic. A book - whether it has chapters or not - will have the same length, plot and characters. Still...I can’t be the only one with this prejudice peeve.

Am I irrational? How would/do you react to a novel without chapters?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If a book has too many chapters, I know it's meant to be a Da Vinci Code thriller for super-short attention spans.

For some people that's good, for some it's bad.

Dave Eggers's Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius has chapter divisions but they don't seem to matter much; the narrative starts on the copyright page.

Bookguide said...

At first when I read your post, I thought that it didn't matter to me, but I've realised it does. I'm reading Jonathan Franzen's 'The Corrections' at the moment, which has occasional sections, but only when the story is switched from the viewpoint of one character to the next. These new sections are few and far between. I often postpone my next action, whether that be turning the light off at bedtime, starting my work for the day, getting a cup of tea or doing anything else useful, until the end of the chapter; "Let me just finish this chapter." With books with no chapters, that could be several days later. Not good!