November is not only AusReadingMonth and Non-Fiction November, it’s also Novellas in November. Given my hectic life and work schedule, novellas seem like a pretty good option at the moment, but what exactly IS a novella?
In the spectrum of written words how does one define a short story, a novelette, a novella or a novel?
When I started looking online, I was quickly overwhelmed with a variety of options and definitions.
One dictionary helpfully defined a novella as ‘a short novel or long short story.’
Most sites, though, agree that a novella is somewhere between 17,500 and 40,000 words. A novelette is considered to be 7,500 – 17,500 words, a short story under 7,500, a novel over 40,000. Now you know!
Famous Novellas: of which I have (R)ead quite a few.
Animal Farm (R)
The Text Publishing page describes the story with this brief blurb:
It takes only a moment of distraction to end Jason’s life, yet the consequences ripple across Brisbane for years. An arch and moving slice of life.
I’m not so sure about the years part though. I didn’t get a sense of that much time after the accident. Before the accident, yes.
Before the accident we got a good dose of Jason’s backstory and a tease of information about the writer’s life. We certainly felt the ripples of effect though, not only of the accident, but also from earlier life events that drew us into the accident.
As you might expect, descriptions of water feature throughout the piece:
IN THE MORNING before the Coroner decides I am a good man, I watch the river under the bridge. The water moves in fast little eddies. Sticks I drop spin round and round before they disappear. This is it, the answer, the water turning and turning and disappearing into itself and making making making.
Some days she gets in the shower and turns on the water and lets it hit a place on her back. She turns off the tap and cries in the drought, wastes only the water of her tears. This is a city too dry for melodrama.
It wasn’t always easy to keep pace with the changes, but I eventually found myself just going with the flow, letting the words wash over me. No longer worried about linear timelines or the constraints of reality.
Given that Laura @Reading in Bed believes that the best novellas are ‘super short, super weird, and translated‘, then The Water of Life ticks two out of three!
This was a story about the psychological ripples that we all live with. The things that can happen to us at different times, the coincidences that bring strangers together and the way that lives interweave and intersect whether we know it or not.
A promising start to my Novella’s in November during AusReadingMonth campaign!