I have finished James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner: Written by Himself, with a detail of curious traditionary facts, and other evidence, by the editor. I love long titles! I couldn’t resist including the whole thing here. I won’t review the book tonight, but I did want to say a couple things. I loved it; it’s crazy and fascinating and weird. The long version of the title hints at its complexity: it’s got two narrators, and is a good example of the perspective-shifting technique Charlotte recently wrote about. It begins with an editor’s version of events, and then turns to the “confessions” of the justified sinner himself, and then closes with the editor again. They retell many of the same events, so part of the fun of the book is comparing their two versions.
Yes, the book is strange and weird, but I’m not sure that justifies this sentence from David Groves, the guy who wrote the introduction to my edition:
No one will understand very much about Hogg’s Confessions on first reading.
Am I wrong, or is that not the best thing to say in an introduction? It seems to me an introduction should get the reader excited about reading the book, not turn the reader off. And it’s not true. I’m sure I’d understand much more on a re-reading, but, still, I got an awful lot on the first go-round.
Okay, more on the novel soon …