How Fiction Works
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... show more
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.
Publish date: July 22nd 2008
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages no: 265
Edition language: English
, Literary Criticism
, Books About Books
, Literary Fiction
I basically underlined this entire book.
This is a literary paean to the joys of good fiction. It is a deceptively simple title. It is really a guided tour of various works, and Wood delights in explaining what is extraordinary about devices or passages used in these stories. Sometimes he also takes pains to describe what doesn't work, be...
A worthwhile read simply for experiencing Wood’s enthusiasm for literature. However, this short book is less a “how-to-write” manual than it is an ode to literary realism.The examples Wood provides are analysed in a manner, which (for a change) leaves me hopeful that one day my writing could amount ...
It was thrilling, at first, to read contemporary criticism which addressed obviously important authors like DFW and Sebald (though they are dead too) in the same terms as Flaubert and James, explaining why what they do is good when it is and offering no excuses when it isn't. And it was exciting to ...
How Fiction Works is a fascinating theoretical book that should be read by anyone interesting in literature, linguistics and the foundations underlying creative writing itself. James Wood draws references from many different books and breaks everything down to varying levels of analysis to have a lo...