How Fiction Works (Tenth Anniversary Edition): Updated and Expanded

How Fiction Works (Tenth Anniversary Edition): Updated and Expanded

by James Wood


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10th anniversary revised edition with new Introduction

How Fiction Works is a scintillating study of the magic of fiction—an analysis of its main elements and a celebration of its lasting power. Here one of the most prominent and stylish critics of our time looks into the machinery of storytelling to ask some 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 some literary conventions become dated while others stay fresh?

James Wood ranges widely, from Homer to Make Way for Ducklings, from the Bible to John le Carré, and his book is both a study of the techniques of fiction-making and an alternative history of the novel. Playful and profound, How Fiction Works will be enlightening to writers, readers, and anyone else interested in what happens on the page.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250183927
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 08/07/2018
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 436,969
Product dimensions: 4.40(w) x 7.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

JAMES WOOD is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a visiting lecturer at Harvard. He is the author of two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, and a novel, The Book Against God.

Table of Contents


Preface to the Tenth Anniversary Edition xv

Narrating 1

Flaubert and Modern Narrative 37

Flaubert and the Rise of the Flaneur 45

Detail 58

Character 91

A Brief History of Consciousness 129

Form 157

Sympathy and Complexity 174

Language 185

Dialogue 215

Truth, Convention, Realism 224

Bibliography 251

Index 255

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