The Novel

( 8 )


"A good, old-fashioned, sink-your-teeth-into-it story...Suspenseful."
James Michener turns the creation and publication of a novel into an extroardinary and exciting experience as he renders believable the intriguing personalities who are the parents to its birth: a writer, editor, critic, and reader are locked in the desperate scenario of life, death, love, and truth. As immediate as today's headlines, as close as the...
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The Novel

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"A good, old-fashioned, sink-your-teeth-into-it story...Suspenseful."
James Michener turns the creation and publication of a novel into an extroardinary and exciting experience as he renders believable the intriguing personalities who are the parents to its birth: a writer, editor, critic, and reader are locked in the desperate scenario of life, death, love, and truth. As immediate as today's headlines, as close as the bookshelves, THE NOVEL is a fascinating look into the glamorous world of the writer.
Selected by the Book-of-the-Month Club

The bestselling author of Alaska, Caribbean, Texas and Hawaii explores the world of the writer in his latest endeavor--a fascinating story of a writer, editor, critic, and reader locked in a desperate scenario of life, death, love, and truth. Nine weeks on The New York Times bestseller list.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Michener explores some of the deepest issues raised by narrative literature.”The New York Times
“A good, old-fashioned, sink-your-teeth-into-it story . . . The Novel lets us see an unfamiliar side of the author, at the same time portraying the delicate, complex relationship among editors, agents and writers.”The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Michener loves literature, and his information about some of his favorite reading is almost as alluring as his explanation of how to handle a manuscript.”—Associated Press
“So absorbing you simply will not want [it] to end.”—Charleston News & Courier
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449221433
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 7/28/1992
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 435
  • Sales rank: 257,695
  • Product dimensions: 4.21 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

James A. Michener was one of the world’s most popular writers, the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Hawaii, Alaska, Chesapeake, Centennial, Texas, Caribbean, and Caravans, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Michener served on the advisory council to NASA and the International Broadcast Board, which oversees the Voice of America. Among dozens of awards and honors, he received America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977, and an award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 1983 for his commitment to art in America. Michener died in 1997 at the age of ninety.

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    1. Also Known As:
      James Albert Michener (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 3, 1907
    1. Date of Death:
      October 16, 1997
    2. Place of Death:
      Austin, Texas

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2006

    A Living Literary Gem Set In Gestalt of Historic Novels

    It is very likely that, within the prolific progress of his production as an historical novelist, Mr. Michener received hoards of letters from writers who had spent a few years bruising foreheads on publishers¿ warded doors, then wised-up and tip-toed around to the alley looking for an in through an established author. THE NOVEL is a response to this and much more. A telling book about the gestalt of publishing, focusing on the midwife process of book-length-fiction, THE NOVEL releases the secrets of its journey from conception to The New York Times Best Seller List. Intriguingly, THE NOVEL is significantly shorter than Michener¿s other novels, and it¿s written in a somewhat experimental storytelling technique. In Michener¿s other novels he uses honorable, tried-and-true techniques. In this toe-in-the-water literary experiment, Michener separates his narrative into four illuminating Parts, each written from the unique, First-Person-Narrative points-of-view of The Writer, then of The Editor, then of The Critic, and then of The Reader. Switching Narrative style has been a firm ¿No No.¿ Once The Novel had established Lukas Yoder in First Person, the whole book would have been written from that point-of-view, i.e., ¿I am Lukas Yoder and I got up this morning at 5 am feeling ... Here¿s how I see my editor, critic, and reader ...¿ Too many experimental works of fiction, as Michener exposes in THE NOVEL, gleefully toss out the rules and write a piece-of-work so incomprehensible, so unidentifiable, so ¿out there¿ as to be impossible to READ, let alone enjoy or, heaven forbid, escape into and live vicariously with well drawn characters who follow the rules of story-living. Michener breaks the rules just enough in THE NOVEL to have produced a refreshingly delightful, yet poignant and powerful literary work. He has delivered a literary presentation equal to the term, which, unfortunately, often brands any work of fiction with the stigma of being boring or depressing. THE NOVEL is far from dull or depleting. It provides a rich reading experience, alive with Pennsylvania Dutch ambiance bridged into the glitzy world of NYC publishing. Each of the Four parts of THE NOVEL work so well that the dramatic-display-of-differences among each of the four is clarified through a glass brightly the nuances of each part are painted in oil-color, brilliant-contrast as they neatly emerge among antithetical ambiances of Writer, Editor, Critic, and Reader. When they¿re read sequentially within the bindings of this novel, these four unique gestalts interweave warmly, coalescing into a portrait of the dynamic dichotomy of the world of, in, and around the living force of the Novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 25, 2006

    Wonderful reading!

    The publishing world as it was a few short years ago appears at center stage in this book, not - as its title might indicate - the creative process that results in a work of fiction. Kinetic Press, a fictitious New York publishing house, can easily be considered the book's main character. Lukas Yoder, whose voice carries the first of four segments (there are no chapter divisions), has finally produced a best seller after dismal numbers for his first four books have nearly caused Kinetic to refuse him further publication. His editor's insistence that if Yoder goes, so does she, is all that's given him the chance to see Book #5 in print. But that book's a runaway. Now Yoder is finishing the manuscript of Book #6, which he declares must be his last. He's past 60, and Emma - the beloved wife who supported him, both financially and emotionally, though all the years when his writing went nowhere - welcomes this announcement. She can't stand another 'seige,' as she puts it. THE NOVEL's second segment belongs to Yvonne Marmelle, Yoder's editor. Born to a 'genteel poor' Jewish family tied to New York City's garment district, she enters the publishing industry out of genuine love for books and works her way from beginning go-fer to senior editor with Lukas Yoder's first novel as her debut assignment. Karl Strieber, professor at the local college that graduated Yoder, aspires to become a respected critic. Like so many other literary scholars, he also hungers to publish his own novel. In the book's third segment, Strieber's voice carries the reader through his experiences and entwines his life with the lives of his neighbor Lukas Yoder and their shared editor, Yvonne Marmelle. The book's fourth and final segment takes on the voice of Jane Garland, a wealthy widow for whom good books are one of life's passions. She already loves local author Yoder's novels, and meets critic Strieber when her brilliant grandson becomes Strieber's student. When young Timothy also is published by Kinetic, with Yvonne Marmelle as his editor, Mrs. Garland and Ms. Marmelle strike up a friendship that's tested by tragedy as THE NOVEL reaches its unexpectedly dramatic climax. Although much of this book consists of character study, I turned its pages with consistent pleasure. It's rich and insightful, and often wickedly funny, too. I was impressed that Michener spoke as a prophet for his profession, when he admitted that an author writing in the 1990s - just before the electronic publishing industry, driven by popular use of the Internet, took off - couldn't begin to guess how books would be published in the next century. My only quibble is one that has nothing to do with Michener. Whoever wrote the promotional copy for THE NOVEL spoke of a mysterious threat, and promised that Jane Garland would hold the key to solving this mystery. Not quite an accurate description of the plot! In fact, rather a misleading one. But that's not the author's doing, and THE NOVEL is wonderful reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2003



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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2001

    all you want in a book

    I've only read 2 other Michener's books before this one...and I've been stupefied each and every time by Michener's indescribable writing style and texture. Most of his books are long and time-consuming to read, but this one was surprisingly a fast read. I really enjoyed the four viewpoints of the book and having an omniscient sense/feel at certain times. I truly appreciate Michener's writings and this one is a keeper!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2000

    A smart but cozy read!

    Just finished 'The Novel!' Just that is a lot to say for someone who has had trouble finishing any Michener novel. The characters were very interesting and ones you could cuddle up with in a soft chair in the middle of a cold winter. The info gained (You can't read him without learning something!) about writing, publishing, critiquing, and finally reading novels was woven into a super tale involving good novels, bad novels, publishing companies being taken over, Dutch mannerisms and speech, and four+ fine people that Michener has let us grow up with. The writing was very well done, and should entertain any reader who appreciates a great sentence.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2010

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