Layers Like Baklava

I have attached a diagram to illustrate the many layers of The Hakawati.  The novel’s structure is kind of like a braid.  There are three main lines of story that intertwine: The present, the past, and the fairy tale.  These main lines then have offshoots, little mini stories, that add even more complexity to the structure. 

You end up getting this beautiful mishmash of reality and fantasy and the two rub up against each other and inform each other.  Mostly, the overlap is in tone, or adding a little bit of context to another part.  The different story lines don’t really talk out loud to each other much.  Rather, they seem to whisper. 

Just like melody and harmonies in music, the layers of the storylines all blend together to make a much bigger sound than one instrument playing alone.  It’s a very cool effect.  And now, without further ado, I give you the rough diagram (this is just for illustration, it’s by no means exact nor comprehensive.)

3 thoughts on “Layers Like Baklava

  1. Color coding! Love it. And Baklava…yummm.

    But seriously, the whole braid in fiction – linking and unlinking storylines – is such a difficult thing to do. Especially if you want to keep it graceful.

  2. Lately, the thing I've been noticing as I read the book is how seamless the transitions are. He basically just has white space or an asterisk to mark the breaks, and he never says “Meanwhile, in the fantasy land…” And,yet, it only takes a sentence, at most, for me to know exactly where I am in any given scene.

    He's very adept at using key words, i.e. any mention of the hospital = we're in the present storyline. It's impressive.

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