–A little help?

March 8, 2007

Technically, the best aspect of The Recognitions is Gaddis’ uncanny ear for human speech. His dialog is among the best — I’m tempted to say the best — I’ve ever encountered.

Part of the reason it’s so good is that he uses the dash method of quotation, just like Joyce. I think this style accurately captures the fragmented nature of most actual speech, and is especially good at indicating interruptions and short exchanges.

The reason I’m posting this is I’m hoping that you, oh-so-well-read book-blogging reader, can name a few works of English fiction that use this style. Off the top of my head I can only think of Joyce and Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country, besides Gaddis.

A little help?



  1. You know, I’m sure I’ve read other books that use the dash in this way, but I can’t remember any … I hope other people can!

  2. I can only think of Joyce which is no help at all.

  3. I’m currently reading Mark Z. Danielweski’s “Only Revolutions,” which utilizes dashes and italics for dialogue.

  4. […] here: A little help? Posted in links, fiction, […]

  5. […] an earlier post I praised Gaddis’ masterful dialog. Gaddis is renowned for his ability to record speech; his […]

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