Peter Brooks shows, through a series of sensitive analyses of ninetenth and twentieth century novels (and also Freud's case history of the "Wolf Man") what can be got out of novels by attending to what is sometimes thought to be the dryest, most uninteresting thing about them: their plots. Brooks' main argument is that "plot" is not something static - like a skeleton keeping a story together - but something that is continually shaping and being shaped by stories as they develop through time. Brooks main mentor in this book is Sigmund Freud, but Reading for the Plot is very far from the kind of psychoanalytic criticism that seeks to explain Hamlet's neuroticisms in terms of his relationship with Gertrude. Rather, Brooks relates Freud's theories to narratives themselves, showing how, for example, narratives simutaneously engender and thwart readers' desire for "closure." The essay on Dickens' Great Expectations is particularly illuminating, probably because Great Expectations is a novel whose very title describes the kind of plot-philia Brooks is talking about.