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Portland Book Review

09-05-15  - Mary-Lynne Monroe


          In general, books about the process of writing concern themselves with how the author might find time to write or the development of characters or tricks about how to show rather than tell the story. In other words, this type of book usually deals with methodology. Facundo Raganato’s book The Author ~ or ~ The Characters’ Short Living Story addresses the writing process from a very different point of view. Raganato writes himself into the story as The Author and interacts with his characters even as the story and the characters themselves are developing. In his introduction, he refers to his book as an “improvisation,” declaring it random and “flowing with the wind.”

Raganato’s story develops slowly, beginning with nothingness, growing to gray stones, then to a golden oil lamp. His six characters, three males and three females, appear out of the nothingness as though born fully grown in the light of the oil lamp in which “their eyes began to see” as they are “thinking and trying to remember.” This is an intriguing introduction, which serves to both draw in and rebuff the reader at the same time.

The Author writes occasional commentary and asides to the reader as the story progresses. Every now and then, he also becomes part of the story. From these moments, the philosophical lines are drawn. Raganato questions how his entry as a character affects the other characters as well as the development of the story itself. Another twist he introduces is the part the reader plays in the development of the story and the characters.


All of this creates an engaging perspective on the development of the story. The book itself is easy to read and allows for extensive philosophical speculation, which is a unique way to read a story. If that philosophical intrigue is the purpose for one’s reading a book, then The Author ~ or ~ The Characters’ Short Living Story is an exceptional choice. If one is looking for a well-developed storyline with diverse and deep characters who arouse sympathy or empathy, then this is not the best book choice. Either way, it is an enjoyable book to read.

- Mary -Lynne Monroe
Portland Book Reviews

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