Stories by Robert Louis Stevenson are hard to digest not because they carry metaphors or symbols but really, his writing technique is so exquisite. My brains always works at its hardest trying to catch the meaning of his words.
The challenge lies on how he makes his writing so full of details, even small objects are unmissed. My experience reading his short story ‘The Merry Men’ proves this. His story is just a few pages but it takes a relatively long time to get it all done. Not only because this short story marks my first experience reading stories about sea and storms and the like, but also because his descriptions are very thorough. I have to slow the reading process down so that my brain can work better to shape imaginations as exactly as described in the short story.
Another thing that adds to this complexity is the insertion of Scottish language in the story. Oh God. When it comes to dialect or local language, my head starts feeling so dizzy. This reminds me a lot when reading ‘Wuthering Heights’ a few weeks ago and some books about American-African novels back at the university. To tell you the truth, I skipped all parts when Emily Bronte presents the dialect in her most enduring novel. I couldn’t stand it. Luckily, the local language in ‘The Merry Men’ is much more understandable and I can comprehend almost all sentences spoken by Gordon Danaway and his servant, Rorie.
His ‘Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and My. Hyde’ is also one of the most difficult books I have ever read so far for it is so smoothly crafted that the transition between the two opposite traits of the same person is barely detected. The language remains polite, the description is full of details, as always. A smooth criminal, as the late Micheal Jackson says.
This is what makes the thin book remains a challenge for me even after two times reading. May be my English proficiency is still poor that I need to read it for the third time, LOL. All in all, though, this Scottish author is one of the best writers and storytellers that I have ever known. When I decide reading his stories that mean I am up for a challenge, a huge one.
The picture is taken from this.