How Fiction Works

By James Wood
Read by James Adams

5.78 Hours 04/21/2009 unabridged
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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. Raging widely from Homer to David Foster Wallace, from What Maisie Knew to Make Way for Ducklings, Woods takes the reader through the basic elements of the art of fiction, step-by-step. He sums up two decades of insight with wit and concision, resulting in nothing less than a philosophy of the novel, which has won critical acclaim nationwide, from the San Francisco Chronicle to the New York Times Book Review.

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Summary

Summary

A 2008 New York Times Book Review Notable Book

A 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Best Book for Nonfiction

A 2008 Washington Post Best Book for Nonfiction

A 2008 Economist Best Book for Nonfiction

A 2008 Library Journal Best Book for Nonfiction

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.

Raging widely from Homer to David Foster Wallace, from What Maisie Knew to Make Way for Ducklings, Woods takes the reader through the basic elements of the art of fiction, step-by-step. He sums up two decades of insight with wit and concision, resulting in nothing less than a philosophy of the novel, which has won critical acclaim nationwide, from the San Francisco Chronicle to the New York Times Book Review.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Deservedly famous for [his] intellectual dazzle, literary acuteness and moral seriousness…Wood writes like a dream.” New York Times Book Review
“The real question he is addressing in this book is not what makes fiction work, but what makes the best fiction work better than the rest. This is a technical book, a primer of sorts, of interest to the practicing writer but probably most useful and illuminating for the serious reader who enjoys the fictive ride and wants to take a look under the hood…All of this is engagingly presented, and…I recommend it highly.” Washington Post
“How Fiction Works should delight and enlighten practicing novelists, would-be novelists, and all passionate readers of fiction.” Economist
“[Wood proves] that superior criticism not only unifies and interprets a literary culture but has the power to imagine it into being.” Harper’s Magazine
“Arguably the preeminent critic of contemporary English letters, [Wood] accomplishes his mission of asking a critic’s questions and offer[ing] a writer’s answers with panache. This book is destined to be marked up, dog-eared, and cherished.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“James Wood’s commanding discussion of the inner workings of fiction writing is an informative reference…This insightful and extremely thorough work is akin to a college lecture…[James Adams’] masterful grasp of the content makes for a keen accompaniment to the material.” AudioFile

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: James Wood

James Wood is a staff writer at the New Yorker and a visiting lecturer in English and American literature at Harvard. Previously he taught literature with Saul Bellow at Boston University and, in 1994, served as a judge for the Booker Prize. He is the author of How Fiction Works, several essay collections, and the novel The Book against God.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction
Runtime: 5.78
Audience: Adult
Language: English