#1 Edited by iWonder (450 posts) -

So I read Hills Like White Elephants a few weeks ago, and incorporated the idea of having an entire scene of almost nothing but dialogue between two (almost) faceless characters into a book I'm writing. It occured to me though that I've never seen this done anywhere else!

So! As the title says, recommend me some stories with epic use of subtext - whether dialogue-based or no.

#2 Posted by Animasta (14753 posts) -

hmm... Nier uses subtext pretty impressively.

#3 Edited by Aegon (5996 posts) -

Do you mean like..something's going on underneath what's really going on? Like you can feel tension building up?

#4 Posted by GunslingerPanda (4930 posts) -

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

Each page is dripping with subtext.

#5 Posted by Guided_By_Tigers (8061 posts) -

Metroid Fusion?

#6 Posted by Questionable (619 posts) -

I think you would find the triology of the rat series from Haruki Murakami quite inspiring.

#7 Posted by iWonder (450 posts) -

@Animasta said:

hmm... Nier uses subtext pretty impressively.

Does it? I never noticed. Though I guess that's probably the mark of good subtext, hahaha

#8 Edited by iWonder (450 posts) -

@H2Oyea said:

Do you mean like..something's going on underneath what's really going on? Like you can feel tension building up?

Yes. Anything of that description. Not necessarily mystery books, but yeah, something that forces me to read inbetween the lines to a level that is not present in the average novel/novella/short story/etc, which is why I used the example of Hills Like White Elephants.

#9 Posted by Animasta (14753 posts) -

@iWonder said:

@Animasta said:

hmm... Nier uses subtext pretty impressively.

Does it? I never noticed. Though I guess that's probably the mark of good subtext, hahaha

most of the text stuff (Kaine's story in particular), all the extended ending stuff pretty much revealed the very subtle subtext in the second half of the game

#10 Edited by Aegon (5996 posts) -
@iWonder said:

@H2Oyea said:

Do you mean like..something's going on underneath what's really going on? Like you can feel tension building up?

Yes. Anything of that description. Not necessarily mystery books, but yeah, something that forces me to read inbetween the lines to a level that is not present in the average novel/novella/short story/etc, which is why I used the example of Hills Like White Elephants.

There's a specific part in Wise Man's Fear that was kind of amazing because of this very reason. So much tension....but it's the second book of a fantasy trilogy. I'm not sure how many more moments have that feel in the books, it's just that that specific one near the end stands out so much. I think it might be the best part of the books thus far. 
#11 Posted by Dagbiker (6978 posts) -

Macbeth - By Shakespeare

Great Play.

#12 Posted by TheFreeMan (2712 posts) -

Farewell, My Lovely. I dunno.

#13 Edited by FengShuiGod (1492 posts) -

JR by William Gaddis is kinda similar to the example you give in that its 700-something page story is told almost entirely through dialogue, and it also functions as a general metaphor for contemporary capitalist society, what with its chaotic writing style and overwhelming amount of disconnections. Tons of subtext.

#14 Posted by iWonder (450 posts) -

@GunslingerPanda said:

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

Each page is dripping with subtext.

@Questionable said:

I think you would find the triology of the rat series from Haruki Murakami quite inspiring.

@Dagbiker said:

Macbeth - By Shakespeare

Great Play.

I've already read Macbeth (and you're right, it's great, especially for what I'm looking for), but the other two sound awesome, thanks.

#15 Posted by MikkaQ (10346 posts) -

Metal Gear Solid 2?

#16 Posted by iWonder (450 posts) -

@FengShuiGod said:

JR by William Gaddis is kinda similar to the example you give in that its 700-something page story is told almost entirely through dialogue, and it also functions as a general metaphor for contemporary capitalist society, what with its chaotic writing style and overwhelming amount of disconnections. Tons of subtext.

That sounds amazing.

#17 Edited by Jeust (10973 posts) -
#18 Posted by SSully (4464 posts) -

Read more of Hemingway's stuff. His whole philosophy on writing was to try to make his work like an iceberg, where more then 3/4's of the icebergs mass is beneath the surface. The Sun Also Rises would be a good start.

The Snow of Kilimjaro is also a good short story by Hemingway. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/heming.html The formatting in this link is horrible, I would personally copy and paste it and change the color and style, but it looks like that is the entity of the short story.

#19 Posted by phish09 (1110 posts) -

Enders Game. Every third chapter or so is exactly what you're describing.

#20 Posted by iWonder (450 posts) -
#21 Posted by Jeust (10973 posts) -

@iWonder said:

@Jeust said:

Read the dreams from Lost Odyssey:

http://lostodyssey.wikia.com/wiki/A_Thousand_Years_of_Dreams/Dream_Trigger_Locations

They are awesome in use of subtext and in conveying emotion. There is even a published book containing all of the dreams in Japan.

I never thought about that. I played Lost Odyssey when it came out, and I wasnt very into reading at the time, so I skipped over most of the dream sequences.

You should give them a read.

#22 Posted by Bruce (5264 posts) -

@iWonder:

Unless your book calls for it, I wouldn't do it. It's never a good idea to create a literary text because you want to copy an idea you read elsewhere. It's arbitrary. So, like I said, unless your current plot calls for that level of subtext -- and dialogue with little attribution and description -- I'd leave it out.

#23 Posted by iWonder (450 posts) -

@Bruce said:

@iWonder:

Unless your book calls for it, I wouldn't do it. It's never a good idea to create a literary text because you want to copy an idea you read elsewhere. It's arbitrary. So, like I said, unless your current plot calls for that level of subtext -- and dialogue with little attribution and description -- I'd leave it out.

It does call for it.