How Fiction Works

James Wood

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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What makes a story a story? What is style? What’s the connection between realism and real life? These are some of the questions James Wood answers in How Fiction Works, the first book-length essay by the preeminent critic of his generation. Ranging widely—from Homer to David Foster Wallace, from What Maisie Knew to Make Way for Ducklings—Wood takes the reader through the basic elements of the art, step by step.

The result is nothing less than a philosophy of the novel—plainspoken, funny, blunt—in the traditions of E. M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel and Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. It sums up two decades of insight with wit and concision. It will change the way you read.

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Reviews

Praise for How Fiction Works

“Deservedly famous for [his] intellectual dazzle, literary acuteness and moral seriousness . . . Wood writes like a dream.” —Daniel Mendelsohn, The New York Times Book Review

“It is not enough to have one Wood. What is needed is a thicket—a forest—of Woods . . . [He proves] that superior criticism not only unifies and interprets a literary culture but has the power to imagine it into being.” —Cynthia Ozick, Harper’s Magazine


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About the Author

James Wood

James Wood is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a visiting lecturer in English and American literature at Harvard. He is the author of two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, and of a novel, The Book Against God.

James Wood

©Miriam Berkley
James Wood

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Available Formats and Book Details

How Fiction Works
James Wood

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
July 2008
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429908658
ISBN10: 1429908653
5 x 7 1/2 inches, 288 pages, Includes a Bibliography and an Index
$9.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
July 2009
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312428471
ISBN10: 0312428472
4 1/2 x 7 1/8 inches, 288 pages
$15.00
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From The Publisher

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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