Burning Down the House Essays on Fiction


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Graywolf Press


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1555975089

9781555975081

288 Pages

$16.00

CAD17.00

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Now in an expanded edition, Burning Down the House, a groundbreaking collection of essays on the craft of writing and the writer's life, has been enjoyed by readers and taught in classrooms for more than a decade. This edition offers two new essays, as well as a new preface.

REVIEWS

Praise for Burning Down the House

"[The book] is a pleasure to read, and it performs an important function—by mucking around in the problems that plague contemporary fiction, Burning Down the House may spur both readers and writers first to a recognition of guilty complicity and then to constructive thought."—The New York Times Book Review

"Readers are rewarded with great-one liners, thoughtful ruminations on the state of literature, and plenty of brush fires that continue burning long after the book is closed."—The San Francisco Bay Guardian

"The most pleasurable and instructive book on the craft since John Gardner's The Art of Fiction."—City Pages

"Baxter displays his characteristic wit and intelligence as he muses about the influence of culture and politics on the art of storytelling."—Ploughshares

“Baxter, a novelist, short story author, self-described ex-poet, and instructor of writing, has revised lectures he originally gave for a MFA program, addressing storytelling concerns dear to his heart. Baxter uses a quote from Richard Nixon as the point of departure in his first essays to explore how ‘deniability’ has crept even into contemporary writing, robbing it of its interest and complexity. Baxter makes a strong case for reviving narratives with ‘mindful villainy’ and an ‘imaginative grip on the despicable.’ Elsewhere, Baxter delves into the short fiction of Alice Walker, Flannery O'Connor, and James Joyce to trace shadows of the antagonist and defends the ‘guilty pleasures’ of this ‘unserious’ mode now fallen out of fashion . . . there is a freshness to his roundabout method of deflating clichés taught at writing programs; his work will appeal to serious writers and readers of fiction.”—Amy Boaz, Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Charles Baxter is the author of ten books, including The Feast of Love, a finalist for the National Book Award, and The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot. He lives in Minneapolis.

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BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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  • Charles Baxter is the author of ten books, including The Feast of Love, a finalist for the National Book Award, and The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
BACK