A Book to Watch and a Film to Touch
At least that is what the LA Review of Books is calling Pry, A Novella.
Pry is an interactive book sold as an app on Apple devices. It is written by Samantha Gorman and Danny Cannizzaro who collectively call themselves Tender Claws. There are five chapter and two parts, with an appendix and a table of contents. So far the work is not completed yet and part two is “coming soon’.
After purchasing the novella and that first chapter is clicked, the reader is pulled into the life of James, a young man going blind and trying to cope with his past. Reading through the text, it prompts the reader to pinch the screen and see into James’s subconscious, and also open his eyes open to see what is around him. In many instances in the novella the reader is very literally required to pry open the text and find what is hidden in between the lines.
Between the lines of text there are can either be videos or flashing words. These lend themselves to the development of the characters within in the novella, and how James perceives it looking back on the events that have taken place. Each chapter has a different way to view the information that is being displayed. In one chapter, the text can be pulled apart. Another chapter features text that expands almost infinitely in all directions. Another is read like braille, the reader traces their finger over the dots and the words are read aloud trough the speakers. The style and format of the chapter focuses on James losing his vision.
Pry is like a human mind. It is not clear almost any aspect, and it does not follow a straight line. Instead, it starts on a path, and will slowly add more and more details, often going on related tangents, but will pull itself back around again to the main point, much like any normal conversation between two people. What is apparent is also that James is not being completely honest with his story. He is not lying, rather he is just forgetting. By pulling the lines away from each other and prying into the story and his mind, more and more gets revealed. Prying reveals information to the readers as much as to James himself.
Pry offers a unique experience for reader and their material. By not conforming to the traditional page turning, paper bound practice, the authors can explore the many possibilities that the technology age has to offer.
The reading experience is different at each read. In the table of contents, all of the chapters are displayed for the reader to see, and on each chapter is a space for four little diamonds. As each chapter is read and information is revealed, the diamonds will fill in. Telling the reader how much, or how little, the story was read. This is a frustrating but also enticing to the reader to continue and finish the chapter. Each time is a new read, and each reader will have different experience with the text and videos and interactions. Because each action is dependent on the action before it, conversations about this novella will be long and interesting.
Pry is worth the read.
It may be confusing at first in its uniquely styled format and display,
but it truly is one of the seeds of future lit.