How Fiction Works

How Fiction Works

Book - 2008
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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 "How Fiction Works," the first book-length essay by the preeminent critic of his generation. Ranging widely--from Homer to David Foster Wallace, from "What Maisie Knew "to "Make Way for Ducklings"--Wood takes the reader through the basic elements of the art, step by step.

The result is nothing less than a philosophy of the novel--plainspoken, funny, blunt--in the traditions of E. M. Forster's "Aspects of the Novel "and Strunk and White's "The Elements of Style." It sums up two decades of insight with wit and concision. It will change the way you read.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c2008
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780374173401
Branch Call Number: 808.3 WOO
Characteristics: 265 p. ; 20 cm

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" 'Narrating; Flaubert and Modern Narrative; Flaubert and the rise of the Flaneur; Detail; Character; A Brief History of Consciousness; Sympathy and Complexity; Language; Dialogue; Truth, Convention, Realism; Bibliography; Index.' "

ser_library Nov 30, 2018

I learned much about fiction and books that I have not read with great enjoyment. However an error in chapter 1 re a book I know well makes me a little hesitant to accept everything in the book.

d
danulb
Oct 26, 2014

One of the best books I've read on fiction. This is the third time I'm reading this book. Also, highly recommend his other nonfiction books.

l
lukasevansherman
Jan 11, 2014

There has been a quiet and gradual collapse of literary culture, which leaves very few prominent critics in our society (Harold Bloom stands out). Gone are the days when Edmund Wilson and Lionel Trilling could set taste and be public intellectuals. New Yorker book critic James Wood is probably one of the last of this breed. "How Fiction Works" operates as an entertaining, if high-brow, crash course in the mechanics of fiction, from characterization to dialogue to prose style. It can get a bit technical, but it's certainly valuable and informative for those with a lit background.

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