THE URGE TO KEEP TURNING THE PAGE:
A Narratological Analysis of how Suspense in Robin Hobb’s The Liveship Traders
In recent years, technology has evolved to become ubiquitous, which has made it easier and easier to fall into spirals of quick gratification. It only takes a click on a mobile device to switch between one momentary distraction and the next. This has given rise to the modern myth that people’s attention spans are becoming shorter. However, Cramer (web) says that there is more to people’s attention spans than lack of ability to concentrate; she demonstrates her claim by referring to that people watch whole seasons of TV-series during the weekend. Consequently Cramer concludes, “The problem isn’t your audience’s attention span-it’s your content.” Arguably cliff-hangers are part of the successful concept that keeps people engaged. Something exciting, something that remains unresolved happens at the end of an episode, and the urge to know what happens next takes the audience in a firm grip. They are asked to wait to learn the answer to the query the story has opened, but the wait feels unbearable. They are left with a feeling of anxiety, anticipation, and excitement. They are left in suspense, and the suspense remains until the audience is given the answer.
Moreover, novels can achieve the same effect as TV-series do. Dove says that “One of the best things that can happen to a novel is for it to gain the reputation of A Book You Just Can’t Put Down. This is the