A punctuation pet peeve

Sometimes I wonder about authors and their editors. I’ve just recently started reading The Wettest County in the World by Matt Bondurant, the novel which the movie Lawless was based on (and which in turn is based on the author’s family members’ lives), and for some reason they didn’t find the need for quotation marks. It isn’t as hard to get used to as I first expected, because the book is more narrative than dialogue, but the dialogue is still awkward once you realize, oh, Jack was saying that to Forrest instead of just observing Forrest.What I want to know is why authors /editors just ignore important punctuation. I haven’t read James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, but I’ve heard that he avoids any and all punctuation and sense in his editing and grammar. Some liberties must be taken in writing, sure, I get that, but this is just too much. Whether you use a single or double quote, at least use one! Save being artistic and mysterious for poetry, not prose. Not fiction, novels that are meant to be enjoyed without getting eyestrain and headaches.


Maybe it’s just me, but that is a huge piss-off when I’m reading. I’m not too far into the book yet, but if the amount of dialogue increases with the lack of quotation marks, I’m going to have a hard time finishing it, despite being so stoked to read it. Does this bother anyone else, or is it just me?

2 thoughts on “A punctuation pet peeve

  1. Peter Carey used a similar format for his “True History of the Kelly Gang”, but it was based on a fictional collection of letters and story that Ned Kelly wrote and so the punctuation, spelling, and grammar was based on how Carey imagined Ned Kelly himself would have written his story. I think Carey used italics for dialogue to make it easier to read. Carey also included a description of the paper that the story was written on e.g. Letterhead from the Bank where he took refuge at one stage.

    1. Italics would be awesome for dialogue. Any sort of indication rather than just stuffing it in there to confuse the reader. The book definitely has to be very good for readers (or maybe just me) to overlook confusing things like that.

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