A friend commented on my book recently, and said she liked the story but didn't like the prose.
I thought this was an interesting thing to think about. How can you like a story but not that words that make it?
There's two ways to look at prose: either as a purely utilitarian device or as an end in and of itself. Jake Seliger often talks about the importance of having the text of a novel advance the language in some way, either through structural innovation, or beauty alone. The concept of a poem is this idea personified. But why, then, are novels so clearly a different form than poems?
It's because the story is what bleeds through. The words are like windows into the narrative. Sometimes, even if you think the window looks like shit, you still want to peer through, staring into the other side.
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis