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How Fiction Works Hardcover – 7 Feb 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 7 Feb 2008
£427.32 £1.05
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jonathan Cape Ltd (7 Feb. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0224079832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0224079839
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.2 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 962,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


'...refined taste, keen observation, and the ability to make the reader argue, passionately, with it.' -- Financial Times

'Intelligent, well-read and extremely confident' -- Gaurdian

`the world's leading critic.... Whether he praises or pillories, he makes you want to read the text he's freshly filleted.' -- Sun Herald

'the overall spirit and implication of this book are as important as its direct statements'
-- Irish Times

'there aren't many book reviewers like James Wood'
-- Sunday Telegraph

`James Wood is Britain's lost literary critic... very little literary criticism achieves that.' -- Evening Standard

`James Wood's enchanting new book...Witty, concise, and composed with a lovely lightness of touch' -- The Economist

`exceptionally illuminating... brilliantly acute and enticingly widely red work. It should be compulsory...' -- Herald

`this compelling essay shows just how deeply, sensitively, imaginatively and joyfully he reads' -- Scotland on Sunday

`what is impressive about How Fiction Works is its practical utility' -- TLS


In the tradition of E. M. Forster's "Aspects of the Novel" and Milan Kundera's "The Art of the Novel", "How Fiction Works" is a scintillating and searching study of the main elements of fiction, such as narrative, detail, characterization, dialogue, realism, and style. In his first full-length book of criticism, one of the most prominent critics of our time takes the machinery of story-telling apart to ask a series of fundamental questions: What do we mean when we say we 'know' a fictional character? What constitutes a 'telling' detail? When is a metaphor successful? Is realism realistic? Why do most endings of novels disappoint?Wood ranges widely, from Homer to Beatrix Potter, from the Bible to John Le Carre, and his book is both a study of the techniques of fiction-making and an alternative history of the novel. Playful and profound, it incisively sums up two decades of bold, often controversial, and now classic critical work, and will be enlightening to writers, readers, and anyone interested in what happens on the page.

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