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Jacob Heilbrunn[Swift's] engrossing new book…seeks to chronicle his evolution into a novelist by weaving together two decades' worth of essays, interviews and poems…Swift is better at explaining what he hopes to accomplish…than how he accomplishes it, but that is no great shortcoming. According to Swift, he's mostly guided by instinct: "My biggest fear all the time is to lose the real inspiration. If you sit and think carefully and systematically about something, your fear is that such thinking will cancel out the real emotion." It hasn't happened in Swift's novels, or in this evocative gathering up of his past.
—The New York Times