Reading fun

After mentioning it the other day, I had fun with

3. Ffangs The Vampire Bat and the Kiss of Truth by Ted Hughes

by reading it aloud to my housemate last night (all 150 pages of it – my throat was rather dry by the end). It definitely worked better this way than reading it quietly to myself, as I did when I first got it. I mostly remember it as being rather strange and disjointed, but the story worked this time.

There are five main chapters, each with numbered subsections, and the confusion comes about because the first chapter is the story of Attila the hencock. At the end of his chapter he meets Ffangs, and Attila is never mentioned again, with the second chapter is all about Ffangs. In his chapter are introduced (Thomas) Squarg and Sweety Crisp, and the last three chapters are about Thomas (with brief mentions of Sweety). Ffangs comes back right at the end of the book, and apparently there’s a sequel about him, which I haven’t personally found.

What’s fun about reading it aloud is that the book starts out printed as poetry (for what I know of these things, free verse with a repeated refrain) that gradually turns in to printed prose in paragraphs rather than stanzas. I didn’t tell my audience any of this, but at the end I asked her had she noticed any change in the reading, and she hadn’t, which either says my reading wasn’t very good (possible, but I amn’t terrible at reading aloud) or that the shift is quite subtle, which is my preferred answer!

Poetry obviously should be read aloud, but I don’t do so to myself easily, so having the audience was nice. We may have to do that again.


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