How Fiction Works
By James Wood
(Picador, Paperback, 9780312428471, 288pp.)
Publication Date: July 21, 2009
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In the tradition of E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel and Milan Kundera's The Art of the Novel, How Fiction Works is a scintillating study of the magic of fiction--an analysis of its main elements and a celebration of its lasting power. Here one of the most prominent and stylish critics of our time looks into the machinery of storytelling to ask some fundamental questions: What do we mean when we say we "know" a fictional character? What constitutes a telling detail? When is a metaphor successful? Is Realism realistic? Why do some literary conventions become dated while others stay fresh?
James Wood ranges widely, from Homer to Make Way for Ducklings, from the Bible to John le Carré, and his book is both a study of the techniques of fiction-making and an alternative history of the novel. Playful and profound, How Fiction Works will be enlightening to writers, readers, and anyone else interested in what happens on the page.
JAMES WOOD is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a visiting lecturer at Harvard. He is the author of two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, and a novel, The Book Against God.
"How Fiction Works should delight and enlighten practicing novelists, would-be novelists, and all passionate readers of fiction. . . . Enchanting."--The Economist
"Wood's enthusiasm is glorious . . . a delight. . . . The pleasure in this book lies in watching Wood read."--Time"An articulate reminder of the framework that is essential to constructing a lasting work of the imagination."--The Miami Herald "Wood is among the few contemporary writers of great consequence. . . . Reading Wood, no matter the book under review, provides enormous pleasure."--Los Angeles Times
"A fiercely committed critic and consummate stylist."--John Banville, The New York Review of Books"A perceptive and graceful essay which almost anybody who's interested in books could read . . . Well worth reading."--The Sunday Times (UK)
More than 150 writers from 40 events will gather in New York City for PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature, April 28 – May 4, 2014.
For its 10th anniversary, the festival celebrates those who have dared to stand ‘on the edge,’ risking their careers, and sometimes their lives, to speak out for their art and beliefs. Join us for a wide range of events, including debates, one-on-one conversations, participatory workshops and performances in venues throughout the city. Use the code PEN14 (use PEN2014 for events at The Public Theater) and receive a 20 percent discount on most events. www.worldvoicesfestival.org