Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Stream of Consciousness Strengths

I've always been a fan of stream of conscious. It's such a unique, rich genre. However, I usually read it, knowing that I'm about to read stream of consciousness. Doug Thayer's Will Wonders Never Cease novel caught me off guard at first because I wasn't expecting a stream of consiousness-esque writing style. At first it really bothered me, but I'm now convinced that this writing style was the most successful way he could have told this story.

First of all, his story was more blatantly LDS than other novels such as Seventh Son and Dispirited. The problem with being overtly LDS, is there's a lot of LDS background that's required to understand the context of the story. It can be challenging to explain LDS beliefs or culture without distracting from the story, but Kyle was able to think about missions, spiritual experience, and other aspects of the LDS subtext in a more natural way because of the writing style of the novel.

The stream of consciousness flow of the story is also helpful--not just because Kyle is alone and hsd no one to talk to--but because it relates closely and realistically to real-life experiences where we take intense mental and emotional journeys that outweigh in importance the physical action around us. For instance, since we were in Kyle's head throughout the novel we could relive his memory of Trace with him and how it related to his vision of how his death would be handled. This is more powerful than "I almost died, but didn't. The end." The avalanche was certainly notable, but it would have just  been a crisis averted had Kyle not undertaken his inward journey as he struggles to survive.

Physical survival was certainly important, but it wasn't the most important aspect of the story. And I loved that.


  1. Yeah, I totally agree that it was super interesting the main focus of the story wasn't about his actual physical dilemma, but his emotional and mental journey. Also, I like that you mention his ability to provide somewhat of a background for the LDS context, I was also impressed with that.

  2. I completely agree. I think that the story would have been very shallow had we not been able to see into Kyle's mind and see all of the things he was thinking about, even though not every thought he had was particularly profound. It made the story very real.