FAMILY VALUES

Mrs. Richardson had been yelling at the kid the fifth-grade girl who came around to our door begging money to pay the babysitter Mrs. Richardson yelled at the grandchild for three days, and spanked her then they were crying, in different parts of the building all the while, their phonograph repeated “the angels sing, glory […]

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE QUOTATIONS BLUR?

When someone speaks of an event while quoting someone else, how accurate is that quotation? How much is a recasting by the teller, perhaps years after the event being related?

In drafting my newest novel, as I turned to a first-person narrative by someone who never even met many of the characters she’s telling about, I realized that her quoting them was actually a filtering through her own voice. In other words, the precision of their voice was in question. Would it be right to put their input in quotations marks? Or eliminate the quotation marks and let the telling float in and out of some recollection?

I’ve opted for the latter. Will it work for the reader, though? We’ll see.