Paratalk or Torque is where I take a paragraph, mostly at random, and talk about it however I wish. It’s an old column I’ve revived. It has fairly broad scope and could go on for ages. Let me know if you get bored, I may not listen though.
Today’s paragraph is from Iris by Fiona Kelly McGregor. I was sent this by the publisher. I’m hoping it’s good and it certainly looks promising from looking at page 160. Here’s the paragraph.
At the next spot I watched a fella I’d seen before tap dancing on a board. He recognised me and smiled. He was skinny and wore tails and a frayed top hat he’d remove to spin on his finger. Definitely a professional out of work. Chink chink went the coins and it was all I could do not to give him the little I’d earnt. I wasn’t nearly as good as him so I moved down the end.
This is such a great paragraph. The word ‘fella’ indicates it’s probably Australian, and when I check the back of the book I find the novel is set in Sydney. There are other countries that use fella, but it’s mostly Australians who use it.
I also liked the word ‘earnt’. It shows some education but not necessarily enough as the past tense of ‘earn’ is actually ‘earned’. Although many, many people don’t know that as they expect it to follow the same rules as ‘dream’ and ‘dreamt’. Also ‘earned’ sounds a lot like ‘earnt’ and I’m finding a lot of people write the way they speak. It’s why we’re losing the correct usage of ‘than’, people say ‘then’ and the writing follows that they then write it as ‘then’. I should write something short and witty about ‘then’ and ‘than’ for a tshirt, but that’s not my skill.
Let’s have a look at the busker. He’s tap dancing on a board. The way it’s worded it feels as if he’s brought his own board to ensure people can hear the clicks of his shoes. I found that a really useful piece of information.
And then we get some really interesting information. He seems to be really good at this, but his clothes are looking rather shabby. The buskers I’ve seen generally try to look a little better dressed. And then there’s the summary ‘definitely a professional out of work’. I shouldn’t have needed to look at the back of the book to realise we’re being shown a lot of money problems, but I didn’t make that connection at first. The back of the book shows me this novel is set in Sydney in the 1930s. The Great Depression, when people did whatever they could in order to stay alive. I’m under the impression that it was during the Great Depression that the government started paying Unemployment Benefits, something which is still paid to this day. I can’t find anything to verify this at this moment.
I’m going to end this here, I’m struggling to concentrate on just this paragraph, my eyes keep wandering to other paragraphs, and then onto other pages. I’ll never finish writing if my eyes continue wandering. From what I’ve seen I feel I’m going to enjoy the writing in this book.
In case you want to buy a copy and read it before I finish this one the link is here. Thank you to all those people clicking on my links, I see the numbers and they make me happy.