In Await Your Reply, published in 2009, Dan Chaon uses repetition in a very cool way. Instead of bogging down the original scene, he pushes the action forward first, then a bit later, moves in for a close-up or two, adding additional details.
For example, on page 246, Miles wakes up in bed with a woman and gropes for his underwear, which he puts on. So the assumption is they’ve had sex.
On page 248:
He was standing there in his underwear, still a bit groggy, still a bit dazzled by the fact that he’d had sex for the first time in two years… [new detail bolded]
Then on page 249:
He was standing there in his boxer shorts with their ridiculous hot pepper print… [new detail bolded]
What this technique does is to roll the scene along, allow the reader to move in for a quick close-up, and then continue along with the story.
It keeps things moving. It adds texture. It reinforces image.
~3rd in a series
~Cross-posted at Contrary Blog
Wonderful eye for detail, Cynthia. It’s funny because I clearly remember those boxers with the chili peppers. Images stick, and Chaon’s layering is brilliant.
Thanks, Darrelyn. That is so perfect that you remember the boxers.