LoveReading

Becoming a member of the LoveReading community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…

Find out more

How Fiction Works

by James Wood

How Fiction Works Synopsis

Rediscover this deep, practical anatomy of the novel from 'the strongest ... literary critic we have' (New York Review of Books) in this new revised 10th anniversary edition. 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 most endings of novels disappoint? In the tradition of E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel and Milan Kundera's The Art of the Novel, How Fiction Works is a study of the main elements of fiction, such as narrative, detail, characterization, dialogue, realism, and style. In his first full-length book of criticism, one of the most prominent critics of our time takes the machinery of story-telling apart to ask a series of fundamental questions. Wood ranges widely, from Homer to Beatrix Potter, from the Bible to John Le Carre, and his book is both a study of the techniques of fiction-making and an alternative history of the novel. Playful and profound, it incisively sums up two decades of bold, often controversial, and now classic critical work, and will be enlightening to writers, readers, and anyone interested in what happens on the page. 'Should find a place on every novel-lover's shelf. It has the quality all useful works of criticism should have: refined taste, keen observation, and the ability to make the reader argue, passionately, with it' Financial Times

How Fiction Works Press Reviews

Exceptionally illuminating... brilliantly acute and enticingly widely read work. It should be compulsory reading for anyone in the reviewing trade and committed to memory before aspiring writers put pen to paper. For those who intend to pursue the underrated calling of reading fiction without wishing to add to its ranks, it will not only make reading more pleasurable, but articulate what you may have felt but never been able to express -- Rosemary Goring * Herald * Enchanting... Witty, concise, and composed with a lovely lightness of touch * Economist * Luminous... full of top-notch observations from the coal-face -- D.J. Taylor * Independent on Sunday * There aren't many book reviewers whose leaving one magazine to go to work for another would make the headlines. But then there aren't many book reviewers like James Wood * Sunday Telegraph * This compelling essay shows just how deeply, sensitively, imaginatively and joyfully he reads * Scotland on Sunday *

Book Information

ISBN: 9781845950934
Publication date: 5th February 2009
Author: James Wood
Publisher: Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 240 pages
Categories: Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Literary theory,

About James Wood

James Wood has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 2007. In 2009, he won the National Magazine Award for reviews and criticism. He was the chief literary critic at the Guardian from 1992 to 1995, and a book critic at the New Republic from 1995 to 2007. He has published a number of books with Cape, including How Fiction Works, which has been translated into thirteen languages.

More About James Wood

More Books By James Wood

Cover for Leadership in Voluntary Organizations  by James Wood
Cover for Serious Noticing  by James Wood
Cover for The Nearest Thing to Life by James Wood
View All Books By James Wood

Share this book