“Do we still know how to read a novel?” John Sutherland, Chairman of the 2005 Booker Prize Committee, asks. His answer is an unequivocal, “No.” But Sutherland has not given up hope. With acerbic wit and intellect, he traces the history of what it used to mean to be well-read and tells readers what it still means today while reminding readers how the delicate charms of fiction can be at once wonderful and inspired and infuriating. On one level this is a book about novels but at a deeper level, this is a book in which one of the most intimate tête-à-têtes is described—one in which a reader meets a novel. However, in order for the relationship to take its proper course, a reader must know how to read it! Sutherland helps readers:
--Pick the right book for them among the cattle call of pre-packaged blurbs and enticing cover art
--Recognize a misleading title at first glance
--Look beyond the politics of book reviewers
--Learn to read the extras—epigraphs, forewords, afterwords—to understand themes only hinted at in the main text
--Find real aspects of the author cleverly hidden in the narrative structure
--And much more
In a book that is as wry and humorous as it is learned and opinionated, John Sutherland tells you everything you always wanted to know about how to read fiction better than you do now (but, were afraid to ask).