I have found myself reading a little differently recently, possibly a little more critically. It is all too easy to be negative, but critical does not have to be bad.
I finished A Room with a View by E.M.Forster. Despite moments of apparently frivolous dialogue, I was impressed some sections of dense and dramatic narration.
Take this section from Chapter Four:
“Nothing ever happens to me,” she reflected, as she entered the Piazza Signoria and looked nonchalantly at its marvels, now fairly familiar to her. The great square was in shadow; the sunshine had come too late to strike it. Neptune was already unsubstantial in the twilight, half god, half ghost, and his fountain plashed dreamily to the men and satyrs who idled together on its marge . The Loggia showed as the triple entrance of a cave, wherein many a deity, shadowy, but immortal, looking forth upon the arrivals and departures of mankind. It was the hour of unreality—the hour, that is, when unfamiliar things are real. An older person at such an hour and in such a place might think that sufficient was happening to him, and rest content. Lucy desired more.
She fixed her eyes wistfully on the tower of the palace, which rose out of the lower darkness like a pillar of roughened gold. It seemed no longer a tower, no longer supported by earth, but some unattainable treasure throbbing in the tranquil sky. Its brightness mesmerized her, still dancing before her eyes when she bent them to the ground and started towards home.
Then something did happen.
The first paragraph begins and ends with a focus on the main character. In between Forster is able to weave a description that at once sets us up for something that is about to happen and also distract our attention with description of the piazza. The use of darkness in the first paragraph creates a sombre tone and references to ‘ghost’ and ‘god’ and ‘unsubstantial’ elevates the importance beyond what seems like a busy square.
The second paragraph contrast the first with images of light. The character is now moving into into that elevated feeling, but leaves slightly blinded by the sun. She is mesmerized and a little confused which is the perfect moment for something to happen.
Of course ‘something’ is keeping us guessing. If you want to find out what happens, there is always the Project Gutenberg version of A Room with a View.