The Narrow Corner, iv

I hate character description. I absolutely hate it. I mean, you can have well-written character description, but unless it’s something necessary for visualizing this person’s actions—you have to explain the difference between Ewok and Wookie, for instance—but otherwise, I hate it. I especially hate it when it’s long-winded character description. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in overwritten character description, which is exactly what Maugham does in the fourth section of Narrow Corner. Three or four times. There are three characters who get the description eye on them, but one gets double. I think. These descriptions take up almost a full page. Maugham knows he’s spinning wheels too—he opens it with activity from another character, regarding this poor bastard who’s going under the microscope. Eventually there’s some good dialogue, but not great. Adequate. Good because of the banter. But it’s very bland. A couple neat parts—Maugham (or his editor on Corner) didn’t use Oxford commas and, more amusingly, Maugham’s got the somewhat mysterious doctor protagonist nodding to himself. It’s much slicker than going on and on about his facial characteristics and resting gait. Not sure if resting gait is a thing. If so, it’d be when you stood still? Mid-step? Anyway. There’s mystery afoot.

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