James Wood How Fiction Works

ISBN 13: 9781433291227

How Fiction Works

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9781433291227: How Fiction Works
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What makes a story a story? What is style? Whats the connection between realism and real life? These are some of the questions James Wood answers in How Fiction Works, the first book-length essay by the preeminent critic of his generation.

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Review:

Amazon Best of the Month, July 2008: The first thing you'll notice about How Fiction Works is its size. At 252 pages, it's a marvel of economy for a book that asks such a huge question and right away you'll want to know (as you might at the start of a new novel) what the author has in store. James Wood takes only his own bookshelves as his literary terrain for this study, and that in itself is the most delightful gift: he joins his audience as a reader, citing his chosen texts judiciously--ranging from Henry James (from whom he takes the best epigraph to a book I've ever read) to Nabokov, Joyce, Updike, and more--to explore not just how fiction works, mechanically speaking, but to reflect on how a novelist's choices make us feel that a novel ultimately works ... or doesn't. Wood remarks that you have to "read enough literature to be taught by it how to read it." His terrific bibliography will surely be a boon to anyone's education, but it's his masterful writing that you'll want to keep reading over the course of your life. --Anne Bartholomew

About the Author:

James Wood is a staff writer at the New Yorker and a visiting lecturer in English and American literature at Harvard. He is the author of How Fiction Works, several essay collections, and the novel The Book against God.

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