Running Grave, Part Six: A Ring Reading

The Novel’s First Turtleback Line is a ‘Wow!’ and the Interior Ring has a Surprise Inside

Yesterday’s ring reading of Part Five parsed the central Part of the nine Part Running Grave as its own distinct ring with latch, turn, and turtle-back parallels but also included some discussion of the novel axis, the connections between Part Five as the book’s turn and its relations to the beginning and end of the story. [I’m going to assume that the important links here are to Part One rather than the Prologue and to Part Nine instead of the Epilogue, though the latch of Prologue and Epilogue, the throat-clearing introductory material and the tying up of loose ends, will almost certainly be something to review as well.] The turn in Part Five, chapter 70 and chapters 71-72, reflected both the latch of this central Part and the ‘meaning in the middle’ of Part One.

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First Thoughts on a First Read of The Running Grave

Elizabeth Baird-Hardy Reviews Strike7

I confess, I do not have the enviable levels of self-control exhibited by our Headmaster in his careful part-by-part reading, so I am now sharing my thoughts after my first fairly fast read. Although I did post my thoughts on Troubled Blood as I finished each section, I was still reading at a breakneck pace to find out what had happened to Margot Bamborough and to see how the brilliant Faerie Queene template matched up with our Denmark Street team. I must also confess, that though Nick and Evan both rank The Running Grave as their favorite installment so far, I do not share that reaction. Troubled Blood, for me, remains the best of the field, by a large margin. That being said, I have some thoughts on The Running Grave, although I am not yet ready to decide where it belongs in my ranking (I feel it will certainly be above The Silkworm and Career of Evil. I like each installment, and really like some elements, but I do play favorites). These are my thoughts based on a first, fast read (with a head start courtesy of those leaked chapters a few weeks back). Be warned, spoilers abound, as I hope most of our readers will have already finished the novel before reading my post. If not, come back and join me once you have made it all the way to page 960.  

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Running Grave, Part Five: A Ring Reading

The Center of the Nine Parts, the Story Turn of Strike7?

It’s been more than a week since Running Grave was published and we’ve reached the half-way point in my reading of Strike7 as a serialized Dickens novel of nine individual Parts. To my surprise (and delight), I still have not been spoiled, which is to say ‘I don’t know the ending,’ and each of the first four Parts I’ve read as well as the Prologue have conformed for the most part with traditional writing; each has had an identifiable latch of beginning and end chapters, a story-turn that echoes beginning and points to the end, and chapters or chapter bundles that mirror one another across the axis of turn and latch. I have been reading one Part each night after I finish writing up the previous Part’s ring notes and stray thoughts, then charting the Part I’ve just read, then taking a look at it to see if the ring pieces are visible. With a ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ on that I go to bed with the prayer that the structure will be obvious in the morning.

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Running Grave, Part Four: A Ring Reading

The Center Ring within the Ring? Murder Revealed at Heart of Celtic Cross?

What a challenge Running Grave, Part Four, is to a Ring Reader!

I was delighted at the start because this Part is the shortest of the opening Parts; I looked forward to getting to bed before 3 AM (or 6 AM…). I did manage to read and chart it and get to bed before 1 AM (just), but the plot points of the fourth Part and its structure left me wondering and really hoping that its structure and meaning would present themselves all-sorted after a good morning’s sleep. 

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Running Grave, Part Zero: A Ring Reading

The Prologue as a Ring Structure

Being far more of a paragon of patience, our Headmaster Dr John Granger has been delaying his gratification of completing The Running Grave by charting each part of the book into (hopefully) a classical ring structure complete with latch, turn and turtleback. Currently you can see his results of Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

I was very privileged to be given an almost complete day tutorial on ring structure with John when he visited Wales this Summer using The Ink Black Heart as a text. This was a remarkable act of generosity when you consider he was only in the country for a few days, and one was already reserved for accepting his doctorate from Swansea University.

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