This post is a part of our story-by-story review of Philippine Speculative Fiction volume 6. You can see the introductory post, and our disclaimers here. Bold font is Mia Tijam, everything else is Paolo Chikiamco.
This is a story by a (publishing) virgin… Congratulations young dude, you are not a virgin anymore! And you win the award for the most marked so far (see http://aremantha.blogspot.com/2011/11/rhum-coke-night.html#more for exhibit A, first page. You should see pages 48 and 50.) Let’s start with the POV: the “I” here is a schizo, it swings from and to—
A) I-as-3rd-person omniscient (the “I” speaks like the narrator)
B) I-as-1st-person-limited (the “I” speaks of internal reality/train-of-thought/the character)
C) I-as-Author (it’s the author unaware that he has become the storyteller acting as the storyteller with an “I”)
A) The first line of the story; in fact, the first couple of paragraphs in the story.
B) Page 46, after the first Click, the lot of those paragraphs.
C) Once the furor died down. See that’s the language/vocabulary of the author, not the “I” character.
What say you, Counsel?
For me, this was overshadowed by other concerns during the first reading, but on second reading I see that schism, though I’d conflate (A) and (C) into one–not sure that I know enough about the POV character to have a firm grasp about what is or is not in his vocabulary. (Though that’s not to say some word choices didn’t jar me – the use of reclusion perpetua, for instance, since that’s a legal term that doesn’t gel well with an “eternity” of punishment…)
— It’s the difference in the constructs of the “I”. Think of I as A, B, C— these are three different characters/realities/perspectives. The problem then is that the story is using “I” and an “I” intrinsically will only have one identity unfolding that identity’s reality. But the “I” here is playing Holy Trinity, hahahaha.
It’s less of a POV issue for me, as it is an immersion issue.
— Dude, POV is immersion. Latter is dependent on former. How in the world can a reader be immersed in the story without the POV?
[Pao: You need a POV for any story of course, but I think you can be immersed in a story with a mishandled POV. I don't think it'll happen often, but it is possible, if the thoughts/reactions that the reader is shown remain authentic.]