Fiction imagines for us a stopping point from which life can be seen as intelligible," asserts Joan Silber in The Art of Time in Fiction. The end point of a story determines its meaning, and one of the main tasks a writer faces is to define the duration of a plot. Silber uses wide-ranging examples from F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chinua Achebe, and Arundhati Roy, among others, to illustrate five key ways in which time unfolds in fiction. In clear-eyed prose, Silber elucidates a tricky but vital aspect of the art of fiction.
About the Author
Joan Silber is the author of six books of fiction, including The Size of the World. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City.
Hometown:New York, NY
Date of Birth:June 14, 1945
Place of Birth:Newark, New Jersey
Education:B.A., Sarah Lawrence College, 1967; M.A., New York University, 1980
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The subtitle of Joan Silber's book is 'As Long As It Takes', and in this case the answer is not very long; not much over 100 pages, about novella size. Not that I weigh my books to see if I'm getting my full dollar (or £8 in my money), but it's a consideration. Much more importantly, how much value is there in those 100-odd pages? How much insight? How much originality? How many times did I nod my head and smile; or take a note? Well, here and there, but less than I would have liked. The writing is excellent when she gets to the observational stuff, but for me it was over-leavened by too many prosaic synopses, too often of books I haven't read (and I recognise that's my lack, not Ms Silber's). However, the book really came to life for me with the superb chapter on Slowed Time, with a couple of fabulous examples and crackling commentary. That section alone is worth my hard-earned cash.