Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Reader's Opinion on Setting

Sorry, I missed character week last week. I had some computer issues that caused me not to be able to post.

But this week is setting.

I'm going to take a different view on this. Not as a writer, but a reader. When I read a crime fiction novel--one of my favorite aspects is setting. In fact, I often will choose or not choose a new writer/novel based on where it's set.

Is that weird of me? Probably, but hey, I'm the reader, it's what I do.

I love to read about new places in a America. Love to hear about downbeat midwestern cities. I also enjoy checking out how writers write about a place I've been. Does it feel like a living breathing place, or just an area that any story can be set?

But what's really cool to me is to read several writer's different takes on one place. I love Lehane's Boston, the dark, gritty blue collar world of neighborhood bars and backstabbing friends.

But it's quite different from Robert B. Parker's Boston. Parker's Boston is one for white collar crime and dark academia. So many others write about Boston as well, and each take is just a hair different.

And that's what makes setting cool. The same place can be very different in each author's hands, but at the same time, you catch the similarities--the virtual walking tour of places.

Does Setting draw you to read a novel?

Does it chase you away?


pattinase (abbott) said...

It absolutely does. I look for books set in places other than New York/London/L.A. I think that has been the biggest appeal of the Swedish books--the idea of stepping into another place. Cara Black's books set in Paris draw me too. Iceland, Finland, anywhere but home.
I'd rather read one set in North Dakota than New York. Or any rural area rather than a big city.

Al Tucher said...

Definitely. I was initially drawn to the books of Philip Kerr and Larry Beinhart by their settings in Germany and Austria, especially Vienna, where I have lived.

And I will ask here whether anyone knows of an author who has used the Big Island of Hawaii, especially the rainforest of the Hilo side. It has become my favorite place on earth, and I send my character Diana Andrews there in two of my (unpublished) novels.