Customer Reviews for

The Writing Circle

Average Rating 3.5
( 113 )
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(25)

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(38)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Highly Recommended

Lyrical prose combines with witty dialogue to keep you reading from the first page. The Writing Circle follows a group of writers and their social and moral struggles over the integrity of their work and of their attractions. Love and friendship end up leading to both...
Lyrical prose combines with witty dialogue to keep you reading from the first page. The Writing Circle follows a group of writers and their social and moral struggles over the integrity of their work and of their attractions. Love and friendship end up leading to both happiness and disaster. Various pieces of writing presented by the different members create another textual layer, alongside the clever dialogue and an alternating point of view. The final events spiral out from one another, forcing us to examine the boundaries between life and art, as well as the consequences of ambition. I highly recommend this as a summer read.

posted by KLOKO on July 19, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Great Read

The Writing Circle presented very real people to me. They all had flaws and insecurities. They were not perfect people, acting perfectly. How they lives become related drives this story. This book is still making me think as I reflect on the characters or the storyline...
The Writing Circle presented very real people to me. They all had flaws and insecurities. They were not perfect people, acting perfectly. How they lives become related drives this story. This book is still making me think as I reflect on the characters or the storyline. Everyone in the book discussion I was in had very strong feelings and very different feelings about scenes and characters in the book. This all makes a good book.

posted by pen21 on June 18, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2010

    Loved it!

    Fabulous characters, if not all particularly lovable, woven together in a tight, skillful plot. If you've ever been in a writing group, or even thought about the possibility, you'll love it.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 27, 2010

    Good Summer Read!

    I really enjoyed the writing style of Corinne Demas. It was interesting to read from the point of view of all the main characters. The author really made the characters come to life...I felt like I knew each character and what they would be thinking. I look forward to reading more books by Ms. Demas.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    I liked it...

    I didn't think I was going to, but I liked it. The book opens with a mysterious prologue then moves into another mysterious portion before introducing us to Nancy, the newest member of the Leopardi Circle. The Circle is a group of writers that meet to review and critique each other's work. With the exception of a few innocent personalities, most of the characters were self-absorbed, some were almost narcissistic and they didn't improve throughout the book. I have to say though, we've all known people like these: one has no conscience whatsoever and can justify all her actions, another wants justice but feels bad for pursuing it. Yet another character has been through a nasty divorce and we see the effects of it take a toll on him and his children. All in all, the book is so well written that I was able to get past the fact that I didn't find the majority of the characters to be likable and get caught up in the plot. In fact, once I'd reached the primary point of conflict, I couldn't put the book down until I'd finished it. Bottom line: it was really good!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2010

    WELCOME INTO THE WORLD OF "THE WRITING CIRCLE"

    Corinne Demas takes you into the lives of the six members of the Leopardi Circle (Virginia, Adam, Chris, Gillian, Bernard and Nancy, the newest member). They take turns reading their copy to The Writing Circle every Sunday afternoon, it is critiqued and suggestions made. Ms. Demas initially devotes a chapter to each character, so you learn about that person both professionally and personally. These six people are far from perfect. In fact, each one of them, or a family member, is dysfunctional to a point. Collectively, these participants exhibit such traits as love, trust, loyalty, infidelity, immoral ethics, uncaringness and plagiarization. Ms. Demas would like you to believe that Nancy is the main character, but early on I felt that Gillian was. There are many characters introduced to you and at times it is hard to keep track of them. Just keep reading, all their lives become intertwined and almost every character has a purpose. Paul, a somewhat depressed teenage boy and the stepson of Gillian, is introduced, has a few chapters devoted entirely to him, so you get to know him quite well and he later becomes one of the principle figures. The story is made up of some romance and is somewhat of a mystery and a thriller all combined. What I liked best about the book was not so much the story itself but analyzing the characters, trying to figure out the why and wherefore of each of them. Some you will like, some you may not care about at all and you will definitely learn to hate one of them. Towards the end of the book, some of the characters become so determined that it is very easy to be drawn into their personalities. I like where the book ended but felt that a short epilogue might have put full closure to the whole story.

    I read The Writing Circle as a participant in Barnes & Noble's First Look book club and had the chance to meet the author, editor and publisher and learn what they hoped the reader would get from the story. This book is a definite for any book club; there is so much up for discussion.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Enjoyable - a great light read

    I read The Writing Circle as part of the First Look Book Club. This book captured my interest from the first page forward. The book is about the Leopardi Circle of writers and their meetings together to discuss their own writing. It also address' each character on an individual basis. The author Corinne Demas really develops her characters well. I felt a part of their circle and a part of their lives. I learned quickly to either love or hate each character. The end left me feeling like it could have been developed a little further - it left me hanging. However, this book is a great light read for a day at the beach or a rainy day when you are stuck indoors. I enjoyed the opportunity to read this book.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2010

    The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas

    I just finished reading and discussing a First Look selection,The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas. I found this novel quite intriguing. The story is based on a group of writers who have formed a group to help them with their various writing ventures. There is a varied group of characters who belong to this "circle,' and the writer tells the story through the various points of view of the members. There is also a character, Paul, who is the step-son of one of the members. The addition of the teenager adds depth to the other story lines. The reader sees how often young people become the victims of the foibles of their elders.

    I enjoyed the book though I did not like some of the characters. My not-liking them was a result of Ms Demas's creating very realistic characters. Ms. Damas uniquely connects the reader to all the characters who also are connected to each other beyond the Writing Circle itself. I know some writers who belong to writing groups who are very supportive of each other. This group, however, is rather sharp and harshly critical of each other. They don't really seem to have each other's best interests at heart. Yet, we do watch some of the characters grow. Others remain static by design to show that some people don't change.

    There is a mysterious element to the book so the reader keeps wanting to know what is going to happen next. The ending is abrupt but arguments could say it suits the tone of the book throughout. Maybe an epilogue might have made the reader feel better about the outcome after having invested much in the reading of the book and beginning to be involved with the characters.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2010

    Great Read

    This novel is a fascinating look into the lives of a group of writers, but it's also a brilliant study of the way groups function. The writing is wonderful. The descriptions are vivid and the dialogue is pitch perfect, but it's the plot that pulled me in and kept me turning pages faster and faster as I reached the end.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 21, 2011

    Good book

    I enjoyed this book, def. held my attention. At times I felt like some things were left too open but it all made sense in the end. Def. makes you think about what you share and who you share it with.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2010

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    The Writing Circle

    This was my 1st time taking part in the First Look Book Club. I was drawn to the club because they were doing this release as an eBook. I am so glad that I was able to take part. I really enjoyed the book. It's a book about a small group of writers, that has recently lost a member. The remaining members invite another writer, Nancy to join them, to fill the vacant spot. The members are there to critic, help and encourage each other, but what happens within this group will forever change each of their lives. You will find issues of loyalty, trust, jealousy, joy and sadness within these pages. You not only get to know the members of the group but also some of their family members. For me it was a quick read, that left me thinking about the characters long after I put the book down.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 18, 2010

    The Writing Circle

    This book was a pretty easy read and interesting enough to want to keep reading. I liked the main plot idea focusing in on each character in the group, although I would have liked to see more of their interactions both in and out of their club meetings. Each chapter skipped from character to character which works for my reading style. I often have to put a book down for a couple of days and then re-orient myself as to where I left off. This writing style made it easier for me to follow the characters one at a time. That being said, I did feel that there were too many additional characters within each main character's subplot. I found myself having to think about who was who everytime a name was mentioned. Most of the characters in this book were not all that memorable or all that likeable. The main characters in the writing circle were all self centered (with the possible exception of Virginia). I didn't really feel a connection with any of them. The book is fairly short so I think it would be a good choice to take while traveling or just sitting around on a rainy afternoon.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2010

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    Coming Full Circle

    The Writing Circle is a book that tells a story in its own circular way. The story revolves around the lives of the six writers who are members of the group known as the Leopardi Circle. This group meets to support and critique the writings of the fellow members. The writing styles and talents of these individuals are as varied and diverse as their personalities.

    The author has chosen to showcase each member in their own individual chapters. The spotlight rotates from one writer to another. While this may cause the reader an effort to keep track of the character being featured at the moment, the process gives the feel of getting to know these players from the very beginning.

    First impressions are made. As the characters continuously rotate, more details about each emerge. You are given the insight of their family lives. The reader sees that every member is flawed. Changes of opinions start to occur. Some characters become likable while others show they cannot be trusted. Eventually the actions of one member affect the entire circle.

    If the six Leopardi members comprise the circle, the axis upon which the circle rotates is the two events that are presented at the beginning of the story. Initially the events seem unrelated, but as the story unfolds, the events become pivotal to the climax of the story. This is an effective tool for the author to utilize to keep the reader constantly intrigued as to how these two scenes may be related and what relevance they do have with the story.

    The strength of this book is the characters. Each is developed in a slow, deliberate manner that allows the reader to see these people come to life. So much time is spent with these individuals that the ending seems too abrupt. Closure is obtained for only one of the members. A few more pages are needed to give the satisfaction that is desired in spending so much emotional reading time with this book.

    This is an entertaining read and an excellent book for discussion.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2010

    A great read for lovers of writing

    This was an unusual story of a writer's group that starts with a mystery and keeps you going to try to figure out the preface, which is the mystery. The characters are all different in personalities and one tries to see if the preface will happen at the end of the book. It has a surprise ending that shocked me but this book was a satisfying read to me.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A look a the members of a writers group

    This book is a look at the members of a writers group and how their lives entangle. The Leoparti Circle is a group of writers who meet on Sunday afternoon to share samples of their work and of words of praise and suggest improvements. Take a look in to the live, relationships and writing of the group members. Are they all what they seem?
    Writers put a part of themselves into their work and it can be very hard to share with others especially in the early stages. Being a part of a writing group can help to improve your skills and you final output. But in all aspects of your life be careful who you trust.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    Excellent choice!

    My writing group selected this novel based on a friend's recommendation, and it was a great choice. We've never had a book that drew more passionate responses and provided us with livelier discussion. The topics here are ideal for book groups: questions of morality, ideas about parenthood, fidelity in love relationships, competition among members of a group, and that juicy subject, plagiarism.
    The Writing Circle is fun to read, but it's also the kind of book that stays with you. The characters are vivid and seem so real it's hard to believe I've never met them in my actual life. In my reading group it was fascinating to see how we came out on the two sides of the main conflict in the story. One thing we all agreed on, though, was what a knockout ending! We had so much to talk about we had to give this novel an extra week.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 2, 2011

    Great for Reading Groups!

    This book was fun to read, and provoked some great discussions. A definite recommend to everyone from the literary critic to the beach bum.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2010

    A book you'll remember....

    This was a book I wasn't so sure that I would enjoy. In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was very slow at the beginning, but the end was worth trudging through. Nancy, the main character, believes she has been betrayed. You become angry for her and really pulled into the novel at that point of the story. I couldn't put it down until I finished it! The story really shows that what might seem wrong to one person, might not be wrong to everyone. It's a wonderful representation of trust, betrayal and integrity.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I was Drawn in by The Preface..

    As the story progressed,I saw similiar senarios to my own life.I suppose that can happen with a book such as The Writing Circle.I did however enjoy the pace. I was willing to take the chance and find out what Corinne Demas was trying to convey to us as readers.I enjoy complex novels,and like to be taken by surprise,There were so many issues,so many character differences,I tried not to focus one one character(I did though for a while)The different age groups in The Writing Circle,was so on target for me,seeing another authors work through older and younger eyes...I left the judging to others,until the very end.Then I was so taken back by the ending.I would like another book by Ms.Demas.with some of the same characters , to see where they are now.. I originally wrote my review on July 3rd..But it never posted...

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

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    Use a note book when reading this book!

    I enjoyed the book all the way to the end. But..I had to have a note book to keep track of all the characters and there relationships with each other. The author did a great job of describing the attributes and relationships of her characters.

    The second part of the book brings out the true qualities of the characters.
    Read the book and enjoy.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2010

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    "Circle" indeed; my head was spinning through many parts of this novel

    The Writing Circle is about a group of writers who gather to critique each others' work. The "circle" also involves how the characters' lives are intertwined. The concept is unique and interesting; however, the author fails to grab your attention in many respects. I found the book very hard to get into at first. I also found that the flip-flopping way that the author went from character to character was annoying and very difficult to follow at times. I couldn't tell exactly what state this book was supposed to be set in - though I gathered that it was New England - and I had a hard time figuring out the ages of many of the characters (unless they were specifically stated). Some of the descriptions were vague enough to mislead, until you read further and worked it out based on other facts that surfaced.

    Corrine Demas has a lot going on in this book -- there are many characters (some of whom are overdeveloped, some of whom are underdeveloped) and many storylines. Some characters' storylines fall flat early on and others just end. I found the end of this book to be very unsatisfying; this story has no real ending, thus no closure for many of the characters.

    Many say this novel is about loyalty, betrayal and the relationships among the characters. That may be, but there has to be some sort of closure for the reader to get satisfaction out of this novel. This book really picks up the pace in the last 3-4 chapters, but I found that it was far too late to really improve my reading experience, especially since the ending was so disappointing.

    Overall, the writing wasn't horrible, but some of the references were very obscure - which I found to be a bit pompous. I would only recommend this book to reading clubs to discuss the various aspects of the author's style and what she hoped to accomlish with this novel. It's unfortunate, as I had high hopes for this book. This is my third "First Look" B&N book club novel, and I enjoyed the other two far more than I enjoyed this one.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 30, 2010

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    Interesting Characters and Exciting Ending

    I loved the mix of charcters and the twist at the end!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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