It’s always fascinating to learn how other people have interpreted something you’ve created, particularly when it’s something as complex as a novel. I’m still a bit surprised at times when a reviewer comments on my books and adds an interpretation that I really didn’t have in mind when I was writing the story.
Facebook reminded me of a review I’d read on Beara: Dark Legends (which came out on Tintean Magazine) last year and, again, as I was reading through it, the reviewer’s interpretation/ experience seemed remarkably different (at times) to the one I’d imagined a reader would have.
That’s no real biggie, of course. The reality is that different people experience different things from the same art form. Thousands, if not millions of people can study a painting and see something completely different based on their own life experiences. The same is certainly true with respect to a story you tell them.
Years ago I wrote a short story entitled ‘Sex with Sarah’ which was basically about the moral corruption endemic in large government departments. Yes, there was some sexual content in there of course (actually, a lot) but, essentially as a mechanism to reflect that corruption (and, God, yes, I can be up myself sometimes!). For years (Years!) afterwards, people who’d read it would come up to me asking who Sarah (of the title) was. Most knew I’d worked in that sector for a while and recognised a lot of what I’d written.
All the same, it always struck me as quite funny that so few people were focused on the key message I was trying to get across. Most seemed more interested in getting Sarah’s contact details.