The Writing Circle

The Writing Circle

by Corinne Demas
3.4 114

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The Writing Circle by Corinne Demas

They call themselves the Leopardi Circle--six members of a writing group who share much more than their works in progress.

When Nancy, whose most recently published work is a medical newsletter, is asked to join a writing group made up of established writers, she accepts, warily. She's not at all certain that her novel is good enough for the company she'll be keeping. Her novel is a subject very close to her heart, and she isn't sure she wants to share it with others, let alone the world. But Nancy soon finds herself as caught up in the group's personal lives as she is with their writing. She learns that nothing--love, family, loyalty--is sacred or certain.

In the circle there's Gillian, a beautiful, scheming, world-famous poet; Bernard, a pompous but lovable biographer; Virginia, a respected historian and the peacemaker of the group, who also happens to be Bernard's ex-wife; Chris, a divorced father and successful thriller writer; and Adam, the youngest of the group, an aspiring novelist who is infatuated with Gillian. And then there's Nancy, an unassuming fiction writer embarking on a new chapter in her own life. They meet to read their work aloud and offer feedback. Over the course of a year, marriages are tested, affairs begin, and trust is broken.

Through their complicated relationships, these eccentric characters share their families, their beds, and their histories, and soon find that buried secrets have a way of coming to light. Hearts break and emotions are pushed to the limit in this richly engaging tale of love, betrayal, and literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401396022
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 07/06/2010
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
File size: 578 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Corinne Demas is the author of Eleven Stories High (SUNY Press), a memoir of growing up in Stuyvesant Town, and the short story collection What We Save for Last (Milkweed Press). Corinne has also written many books for children, including Saying Goodbye to Lulu (Little, Brown). She has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship as well as the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, and has won The Lawrence Foundation Prize for best story to appear in the Michigan Quarterly Review. In addition to writing, she is a Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College and is the Fiction Editor of the Massachusetts Review. She lives in MA and spends her summers on Cape Cod.

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The Writing Circle 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 113 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
0104 More than 1 year ago
This book is a must for all avid readers. The writing style alone is enough to endorse this book. I look forward to many more stories from this author!
looptyloo More than 1 year ago
This book about a group of writers was an interesting read. Some of them you may hate, and others you will love. The preface was immediately engaging, but the story had less to do with that than an examination of the relationships, and how we all deal with them.
LeslieF22 More than 1 year ago
This story of passion, ambition and betrayal within a exclusive writers group was an absorbing summer read. I'm giving it to my best friend for her birthday.
Ina68 More than 1 year ago
This compelling novel delivers more than it promises. It's not only a window into the secret, behind-the-scenes world of writers but an exploration of how groups function and what can happen when one member betrays another. I stayed up all night to finish this novel and haven't stopped thinking about it since.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Corinne Demas has written an engrossing novel about ambitions, mores, jealousies and passions as seen through the eyes of the six members of The Leopardi Circle, a New England writing group and those close to them. The most fascinating member is enigmatic, selfish, seductive Gillian, an already famous poet who is being considered for a Pulitzer Prize. Bernard, who turns out a well-received historical biography once every ten years, is the oldest member of the group. Quick of tongue, he is able to shred the writing of the group's two other men, telling Nancy, the newest member, that Chris, a successful thriller writer, is "hopelessly seeking literary approval." It takes even fewer words for Bernard to dismiss Adam, the group's youngest member who has been working on his first novel for years. "He doesn't signify," Bernard says to Nancy, a medical writer who is working on a novel based on her father's early life. Rounding off the group is Virginia, a well-known historian and Bernard's first wife, the group's peace maker and most supportive member. These are real people, well-developed characters that hold the reader's attention and will linger in the mind. I've worked with a Gillian, not a poet but a conniving and duplicitous colleague, and I've been on committees with a Virginia, gifted at consensus-building. Love, hate, marriage, birth, death, infidelity, betrayal -- Corinne Demas smoothly weaves the complicated strands of her characters' lives into an absorbing novel that sustains the reader's interest throughout.
kanellio65 More than 1 year ago
Discovering Corinne Demas first through her fabulous memoir, ELEVEN STORIES HIGH, and then being charmed with her poetry and many children's books, such as TWO CHRISTMAS MICE, Corinne Demas never fails to please her readers. THE WRITING CIRCLE is no exception. Drawing from her own experience in writers' groups, teaching her craft,and writing so many wonderful books,Corinne Demas gives readers a fascinating look at the literary world that "outsiders" are normally not privy to. THE WRITING CIRCLE leads readers through an interesting character study of a group of writers and from there expands to include their families and shows how their complex personal lives intertwine to produce complications,romance,mystery, and betrayal. Set in western Massachusetts,Demas's familiar home base,the narrative is told using a different point of view in each chapter,alternating between the various characters. I found this to be the perfect way to follow the story by looking at all sides of the issues and intricacies of the characters. The Leopardi Circle is the name of the writing group that meets to share parts of their current work, be it fiction, poetry, or non-fiction. The purpose being to gain constructive feedback that might improve each writer's work. The main character,Nancy Markopolis, is the newest member of the group and is tentative at first as she listens to the more experienced writers, but she soon overcomes that as she learns more about each member. Hers is a novel of fiction which is drawn from an early memory of her beloved father and is based on his early life and in a way,pays homage to him. Her personal life is in a good place right now and little does she suspect what this new association will do to tear her dreams to shreds. Researching George Frideric Handel,is Bernard,an overweight, unrestrained biographer who actually introduces Nancy to the group. Bernard is so wrapped up in himself that he is rather oblivious to the complicated emotions and feelings of other around him. Bernard's ex-wife,Virginia,is a novelist and the comforting maternal figure of the group. She is always there to offer sympathy and compassion to the group when friction occurs. In the two single males,we find Adam,the youngest of the group,and one that Virginia has taken under her wing. Adam is a melancholy and naive character suffering from unrequited love. Chris is the author of successful thrillers. He restrains himself as he tries to maintain his relationship with his two young sons that are being played as pawns by his self-centered wife in a custody battle. Finally, there is the poet, Gillian, a possible Pulitzer Prize candidate, who is the famous writer in the group, and whom everyone values for her work. However, some have had other relationships with Gillian while another yearns for more. Gillian's condescending personality and inexhaustible egotism drives the group mad as well as steers the plot toward disaster. THE WRITING CIRCLE draws the reader into the lives of the characters, and twists and turn just enough to make one suspect where things are heading only to be shocked by such a startling and stunning conclusion. Corinne Demas totally had me for the entire novel and then absolutely knocked me off my feet with the ending. DO NOT look at the last page, PLEASE, as the pleasurable build up to the climax of the book is a journey you will take, in my opinion, in one sitting, as you are so drawn in and you can't put down THE WRITING
BHall More than 1 year ago
We're all members of various groups. The Writing Circle is a well written, literary study of a closed group, its members and other persons impacted by the group when one group member betrays another member. The book provides a very thought provoking character study. Its details have lingered with me in the 6+ weeks since I finished it. Although I only infrequently re-read books, this is one which I will most likely re-read in order to capture all the nuances that suddenly clicked together for me at the end. I highly recommend this book & look forward to reading Ms. Demas' work in the future.
CharlieG31 More than 1 year ago
When I first received The Writing Circle I believed it was going to be a typical story with a typical plotline, it didn't take too long before I realized this was not a normal novel , two days passed and I had developed an addiction to this book. The way the author achieves to transmit characters and their personalities and still manage to have a perfect storyline is something that only a small group ever manage to do. I was impressed by the way the story develops and I recommend it for one of those night readings when you are already relaxed and ready to go to bed The writing circle will definitely make you enjoy your life and your friends. If you like stories that remind you of who you are, the way your life is going , and pretty much every day living, the writing circle is the best choice!
Liz_Hart More than 1 year ago
Fluidly and vividly drawn, The Writers' Circle explores the dangerous liaisons and collisions between a group of talented writers who share more than just their poetry and prose. Subtly but provocatively, Demas reveals the porous moral boundaries between life and art, and intentional and unintentional consequences. A great read that provides much food for thought as it comes to a stunning conclusion.
Elaine_vB More than 1 year ago
Experiencing this insider's view of an elite writing circle feels like a forbidden pleasure. Its fascinating to follow the private lives of its members, especially that of the alluring, brilliant and ambitious poetess, Jillian - an unforgettable character.
eadieburke More than 1 year ago
I was fortunate to read The Writing Circle with The First Look bookclub from Barnes and Noble's website. First of all, I would like to say that Corrine Demas is a very talented author. Writing Circle has a lot of characters and she does well with their character development. I find that I am still thinking about the characters even though I read the book over a month ago. The first part of the book is her introduction to all the characters and the Leopardi Writing Circle. It's in the 2nd part of the book where the story takes off and you are taken on a ride watching the characters play out their roles. If you enjoy reading a book about friendship and betrayal with characters you love and love to hate, then I would suggest reading The Writing Cirlce. I am looking forward to reading more of Corrine's books. Her writing style is supurb!
Goodword More than 1 year ago
I had the opportunity to read The Writing Circle with the First Looks Book Club. In TWC, we follow Nancy into the Leopardi Circle and meet the writers there, learning an unusual assorment of intimate details about their lives, and watching their personal lives intertwine, impacting one another in ways reaching farther than one would expect. Demas writes beautifully as she reveals these characters to us bit by bit, layer by layer, pulling us toward a stunning, emotional conclusion. I found that the characters and the moral questions raised remained with me long after putting the book down.
EiLvReedn More than 1 year ago
What if you were asked to become a member of a unique cast of writers and you were a little on the hesitant side? that's exactly where Nancy finds herself, but the story isn't just about the writers it expands on to each of their lives, loves, disappointments and indiscretions. Yes they are human and definitely not all angels but one character in particular is villianous. Find out who..
LKD_726 More than 1 year ago
The Writing Circle gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of six writers in the Leopardi Circle. The book examines the relationships of the writers and their respective life choices. How does the past influence the future? Can the characters move past their own self-absorbing behavior and come to the aide of a fellow writer? I enjoyed the complexity of the relationships and found myself wanting to learn more about each of the characters and their development or lack there of. The characters, especially Gillian, have stayed with me long after I finished the book.
TudorRose More than 1 year ago
This is the story of the six members of the Leopardi Circle, a group of writers who get together to read and critique their work. As in any group, some members are more supportive than others and one is absolutely horrible. The author effectively explores the topics of loyalty, jealousy and friendship and the repercussions of greed and self-centeredness. The prologue of the book really drew me into the novel and kept me reading to find out how the threads of the story come together. The story is told through the eyes of each of the characters, and while some readers might be thrown by the shift in perspective from chapter to chapter, I thought it allowed the reader to get more from each of the characters than you would from a straight third of first person narrative. I enjoyed the plot and pacing of the novel, however, there was no big surprise for me at the end of the book. The one big dissapointment for me with this book is the ending. I do not think there was any closure to the novel at all. We know what happens, but we don't know the consequences of that action. Also, there were several secondary storylines throughout the novel that are not resolved. For me, the book was an enjoyable read, beautifully written, but more closure or an epilogue would have made it better for me. I would recommend this book, but would caution that the ending may not give you the closure you would expect to find. I would also recommend this as a book club selection as there are lots of great discussion topics throughout the novel.
bettymac More than 1 year ago
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.
MSaff More than 1 year ago
"The Writing Circle", by Corinne Demas is a journey down a path which has many hidden twists and turns. When you first begin to read this novel, you are introduced to a cast of characters which in many instances, would not be together except for their love of the written word. Each is a writer/author and each is dedicated to their own personal writing styles. You will also find that in many cases, these characters show traits of infidelity as well as unscrupulous tendencies towards each other and towards those around them. This group has formed a Writing Circle, which meets on Sunday evenings to discuss their current writing ventures for critiques and encouragement from the group, however there is at least one member who is there to further her own agenda. That person is Gillian a well known poet. She is also a stepmother to Paul a troubled young man, now living with his father and stepmother (Gillian). He appears to have no friends and is torn between wanting to stay with his father and moving back with his mother. The main character, at least in my opinion is Nancy, a writer of novels. She is now writing a novel, which may be based on her father, but is probably a fictional work. There are also a number of other characters involved with the story and each has their own hang up and desires dealing with their occupations and preoccupations. Needless to say, Demas, takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of emotions as well as many twists and turns. Just when you think you have the plot figured out, another turns throws you into a dizzying spin. Bravo to Corinne Demas for a wonderful suspenseful novel.
LarryOnLI More than 1 year ago
The Writing Circle is the story of a group of authors in a small New England town, their friends and families, and how they interact with each other. The author does an excellent job of brining her characters to life and getting the reader to care about them. However the surprising ending left me wanting to read more and wondering about the fate of some of them. Overall I enjoyed the book and heartily recommend it.
DSaff More than 1 year ago
The Leopardi Circle is comprised of Bernard, Virginia, Gillian, Adam and Chris, but they are down one member. Nancy is invited to join the group and quickly finds she hasn't been properly prepared for their discussions. As they meet, different members come prepared to read their work. These snippets of writing invite the reader to understand the person behind the pen. How will each take the literary criticism sent their way? Issues of fidelity, trust, and confidence fill the book, as Ms. Demas tells us of her character's lives and loves. The reader will meet other family members and see how they truly interact with others away from the circle. What happens when they find that someone can't be trusted? How does the book's beginning tie into its ending? I was privileged to receive a copy of this book through Barnes and Noble's First Look program. This is the first e-book we have discussed, and I had fun reading it on my Nook. The beginning drew me as the characters and story took shape, with the story building to a climax that surprised and saddened me. I recommend this book to individuals and groups alike. There is much to discuss here.
lsd More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
HSheridan More than 1 year ago
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.
rla8180 More than 1 year ago
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!
Zyna More than 1 year ago
This is only the second book I've read for the First Look, but I enjoyed reading it as much as the previous selection. Like Nancy, who knows exactly where her father will end up at the end of her story, so Corinne Demas makes sure at the beginning of the novel that the reader draws the necessary conclusions and knows exactly where her story is going as well. However, the outcome of the story is not as important as the journey Demas takes the reader on to get there. It is a journey of friendship, discovery, and betrayal. It is a journey of seeking retribution and it makes for a very interesting read. The outcome of the story is not as important as the journey, and in some ways the ending seems to be lacking, but Corinne Demas's debut novel is a good read nonetheless.