Saturday, March 5, 2011

read: How Fiction Works

How Fiction WorksHow Fiction Works by James Wood

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm of two minds on this book. On the one hand I can't remember what recommendation caused me to read it. And if all I'd had was the second half of the book as an example, I probably wouldn't have bothered. It rambles and jumps around so much.

On the other hand, the first sections, covering narrative and viewpoint, illuminated perspectives on writing that came as revelations to me as from on high. I simply have not previously approached fiction from that philosophical direction.

The author seems to be of two minds as well, trying to have his cake and eat it, too, philosophically. He seems to be simultaneously trying to appeal to the common reader and to the highly educated sophisticate. At times he succeeds. At others, he seems simply irksome. Like one of those know-it-all semi-intellectuals that are impossible to shut up once they commence to educate you about some subject.

Then again, perhaps it was just me, the reader, becoming impatient. If I decide I have a need to make time for this book again, perhaps I will revisit it and see if it is even more illuminating (or more irksome) the second time.

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