Fascinating article on authors who repeat themselves in their books over at the UK Guardian. This is something I often worry about with my own stuff as I work through the various drafts of my second novel. Am I repeating certain images or leitmotifs from the first book? Am I repurposing particular themes or even whole plot points? Is my style distinctive, or merely repetitive?
On the one hand, most authors want to develop their own signature voice and approach to literature, want to have an overarching vision that encompasses more than one book. On the other hand, no author wants (consciously or unconsciously) to keep writing the same novel or short story over and over again - although some, sadly, do.
Anyway, the article "outs" a few big-name perpetrators of iffy repetition. It's these kinds of reoccuring leitmotifs that have made me hesitant about reading the new John Irving novel, for example. Still, I applaud any writer who attempts to balance a unifying vision for his/her work with trying to say something fresh and new. Believe me: it's a lot harder than it looks.