The first time I saw form reflecting content in a book and realized what was going on, I got really excited about it. I think it was in Dave Eggers You Shall Know Our Velocity. A description of a boat ride had blank pages that followed the boat being slammed up against a wave and flying through the air. And omigod Dave Eggers just got that. much. hotter.
So I started looking for books that had interesting things done with the pages and text. And by far the best book to do just that is People of Paper. It’s an elegant looking book with slightly raised cover art and a band paper jacket that someone once stopped to admire when I had it sitting on my desk. On perusing it, sometimes every other page gets skipped aside from a few words. Further along, each page has two columns of writing for separate voices speaking at once and then sometimes the columns are completely blacked like a toddler had some fun with a permanent marker. And then, this is what sealed the deal, there was a hole in a page. A single word had been perfectly cut out in the middle of one of the pages. I was beyond impressed and let it slide that in the end it was a commentary on writing a book. And oh the agony of being a writer. Fortunately most writers have the ego to compensate for the agony.
I’m currently reading Raw Shark Texts and it has the same features of words on pages squished together to create the shark that haunts the plot. There are other word forms throughout and an entire sub-plot about words and “letter-bombs” being used to confuse the villain. It’s a stretch and I compared it to mix of Clive Barker’s Weaveworld and People of Paper. Ex-boy gave me Weaveworld to read when I was bored of reading female authors and I kept coming back to him with comments like “someone really thought this was a good idea to publish” and “umm, what? there’s a rug and people live in the rug?” and then further along there are several scenes where someone jerks off and that person is just so evil his ejaculate turns to evil snakes, this is already after introducing the person’s shit turning into snakes… Seriously? did Clive Barker write this whole book while sitting on the toilet?
But in any case, I think the form reflecting content fascination is coming to a close for me. Until then I’m going to stick to the old standby of David Mitchell where I can just read without paying attention because I won’t know what’s going on until the end anyway because that’s the point.