"What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers." ~ Logan Pearsall Smith, "All Trivia," Afterthoughts, 1931
For me, the best novels are those that are rich in subtlety and nuance. I'm a re-reader, and it's a treat to gain new perspectives from subsequent rereadings of a novel. Here are some of the books I like to re-read every few years:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Sophie's Choice by William Styron
Contact by Carl Sagan
The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
A diverse list, yes, but each novel is, IMO, an example of excellent storytelling. And nuances are an important part of good storytelling -- whispers, not shouts. Whispers layered carefully within a story make the most lasting impressions on readers, lending depth and credibility to a story and its characters and helping a novel age well and stand the test of time.
Where do whispers come from? Speaking as a writer, the best whispers aren't intentional. They are subleties and connections which develop as the story develops.
What's more, a good story whispers differently to different readers. That is, each reader brings his or her own unique perspective to the reading of a novel, and each reader will take something unique from the experience. The shouts of a novel can be heard more uniformly, but it's the whispers that make a wonderful story a fresh experience for each reader -- and for each re-reading.
Causes Thomma Grindstaff Supports
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Alley Cat Alleys, Shambala Preserve