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Farrar, Straus and Giroux
288 pages
Product Description
<DIV><DIV>What makes a story a story? What is style? What’s the connection between realism and real life? These are some of the questions James Wood answers in <I>How Fiction Works</I>, the first book-length essay by the preeminent critic of his generation. Ranging widely—from Homer to David Foster Wallace, from <I>What Maisie Knew </I>to <I>Make Way for Ducklings</I>—Wood takes the reader through the basic elements of the art, step by step. <P></P>The result is nothing less than a philosophy of the novel—plainspoken, funny, blunt—in the traditions of E. M. Forster’s <I>Aspects of the Novel </I>and Strunk and White’s <I>The Elements of Style</I>. It sums up two decades of insight with wit and concision. It will change the way you read.</DIV></DIV>
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
288 pages
Amazon.com Review
<b>Amazon Best of the Month, July 2008</b>: The first thing you'll notice about <i>How Fiction Works</i> 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 <i>works</i> ... 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. <i>--Anne Bartholomew</i><br/><br/>