"The Heist" tends to read a bit like an Icelandic Saga

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Admittedly, I did read "The Heist" immediately AFTER leaving European Literature, where we're reading The Laxdaela Saga. It's an Icelandic saga, and tends to get really bogged down in geneology. Its interwoven with lots of tiny chapters that just give bits of background. It would actually be kind of nice if upon hearing a somewhat familiar name (They all seem somewhat familiar since 80% of the characters have the word "Thor" in their name) one could click on it and jump back to the chapter that explained who they were. It has many chapters where all that happens is that someone got married, had kids who all got married, one of them then had a son, who will not be mentioned for at least a hundred more pages. This seemed reminiscent of reading about a well endowed bank teller who happened to be trying to decide if she was in love with a banker owner's son who would eventually take over the bank and wear bad suits, after growing up in a town that required a well developed sense of irony. It gets difficult to follow.

The lack of a clear linear path that hypertext can allow a writer, tends to make it even more difficult to follow. At least in works with fragmented story lines, which most good novels have to some degree, there is some sort of frame work, with cues helping the reader determine when and where the action is occuring. Some writers give dates or times, or even locations, in first person narratives they often say something like "back when..." In most cases writers tend to guide the reader along, showing them what they want them to see, at the precise moment they want it to be seen.

This said, the whole idea of writing a story that can be read in a random order, is pretty impressive. It adds several new dimensions to the craft of story telling. To plan such a story, one would have to determine which pages to link and in what way, so that no matter which links they click, the reader still hits all the pages, AND recieves them in an order that makes sense. One of these days, when I get enough free-time (or if the website design project instructions are really open-ended) I'll definately have to write one of these.    


Andy Lonigro said:

I agree that this would have been a challenge. I couldn't keep everything straight when I was reading it let alone trying to write it. I wonder if he sat down and wrote the whole novel, and then chopped it up? Or if he strategically wrote the story with each particular hyperlink in mind? Either way, it must've taken a lot of work and a lot of time.

DavidWilbanks said:

I think he probably wrote it as several short stories, as well as a few supplemental materials. In some cases the links didn't take you off to some other story, but continued the one you were on as if you'd turned to the next page.

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