Sunday, September 03, 2006

Local incoherence

I've been thinking about something since I finished reading Eye Contact. In a previous post, I wrote about the concept of "local coherence" as described by Kamran Nazeer in Send in the Idiots. Nazeer talks about local coherence as the propensity to focus on a small, manageable thing when faced with a large, overwhelming situation.

As I've already mentioned, Eye Contact was large and overwhelming for me. It was also gripping, and kept me reading furiously. However, as I sped through the climactic denouement of the story, I crashed headlong into something that completely stopped my momentum.

It was a typo.

Right there in the final, big moment, a main character is supposed to shout, "DON'T BE SCARED!"

Instead, in the poorly-edited edition I'm reading, the character shouts "DON'T BE SACRED!"

I stopped reading instantly. Sacred? Did this character really say "Don't be sacred?" Why sacred? It can't be sacred. It has to be scared. Who edited this book? This particular scene - this particular sentence - is critical to the plot. How could they have missed this?

I've been interested in my own reaction. Did I stop reading and focus entirely on the typo to regain my own local coherence? The plot was certainly overwhelming, and I knew that it was about to head into some action that would be hard to read. Did "sacred" provide the escape that I needed?

Or was it even more than that? Did this typo - this critical typo in the middle of this critical scene - allow me to give less credence to the book itself, and therefore to the warnings I inferred from its subtext?

Eye don't no, but it gives me paws.

3 comments:

Daisy said...

Wow. Eye dont no ether, but its some think to thing about.

Kristina Chew said...

Or maybe there was another R missing......... "don't be scarRed!"

bethduckie said...

Hm. Typos really bother me too- and colour my entire perception of an article or book (in a negative way)

I never considered I might be escaping from ideas I dont want to look at.

eep...