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The Writing Circle (Voice) Hardcover – July 6, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Voice
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; First Edition edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401341144
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401341145
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,228,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Nancy Markopolis, a medical newsletter editor working earnestly on a novel inspired by her late, beloved father, is invited into an exclusive Massachusetts writers' group, the Leopardi Circle, by hapless historian Bernard, setting in motion this convoluted tale of professional jealousy and literary theft. What Nancy doesn't realize is that to gain a spot in the circle, her work must be judged worthy by a group that includes, among others, Bernard's novelist ex-wife, Virginia, and the cold but wildly successful poet Gillian Coit. As she gets to know the members of the insular group, including who is sleeping (or not sleeping) with whom, accusations of plagiarism arise and lead to a number of shifting alliances, troubling revelations, and a looming showdown. Demas (Eleven Stories High) offers a dense, intricately detailed Massachusetts literary community populated by characters who appraise each others' relationships and furniture just as harshly as their writing--and with the same assessing smile--but what begins as an arresting study in moral ambiguity, however, ends in a clear-cut revenge plot hobbled by an outsized cast.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Demas is a prolific children's author who has also written a collection of short stories and a memoir. Here she has a field day with this group portrait of the Leopardi Circle, six writers who gather weekly to critique each other's work. Nancy is the newest member, unsure about her place in the group and the quality of her work; Bernard is an esteemed biographer and the ex-husband of Virginia, the group's most beloved member and its prime peacekeeper; Adam is the very wealthy owner of a shoe company and an aspiring novelist who writes surprisingly erudite fiction; Chris is a successful thriller writer with a difficult personal life; and Gillian is a world-famous poet with a condescending manner. Part of what gives this format its enduring appeal is the way it allows readers to dip in and out of each character's life while also giving multiple perspectives on key events. Demas ups the ante by deepening the characterizations, introducing the subject of plagiarism, and exposing the vanity and insecurity of even the most celebrated writers. Delicious reading. --Joanne Wilkinson

Customer Reviews

I love her writing style.
This book is highly recommended to anyone who has writing aspirations or who has ever participated in a writing group.
Corinne H. Smith
I couldn't seem to even care about the characters in the book.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Corinne H. Smith VINE VOICE on July 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Every writer craves feedback. As a result, local writing groups or circles have sprung up in almost every community. In this unnamed New England town, six writers get together on Sunday afternoons to exchange manuscripts and to offer suggestions and criticisms of each other's work. The three men and three women of the exclusive Leopardi Circle are in various stages of literary success. We learn about their drives and their lives both within and away from the group as we turn these pages.

Each chapter is written from the point of view of one of the main characters: the six writers and two of their offspring. This technique offers us insights into each individual's background and his or her perspective about the other members of the core. Although the book begins with and seems to center on Nancy, the newest member of the writing circle, it doesn't take too long for a widely-published poet named Gillian to push her way into the foreground. Suddenly everything revolves around her.

"The Writing Circle" bears a faint resemblance in topic and treatment to Debbie Macomber's "Thursdays at Eight" (2001), in which four women meet in a journaling class and decide to continue gathering once a week. However, Demas' characters show more complexity and are more intricately involved in one another's lives from the outset. They are also more dedicated to the craft and art of serious writing. The gender mix gives more depth to the Leopardi Circle, too.

This book is highly recommended to anyone who has writing aspirations or who has ever participated in a writing group. You may find yourself looking around the table at your fellow scribblers a bit more intently, after reading it. It would also make a great selection for any mainstream book discussion group (although conservative readers should be aware that a few detailed bedroom scenes are included).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LucyH on May 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm a writer and could not wait to start this book. It did not disappoint! It's definitely a character-driven novel, so if you're looking for action, this probably isn't the book for you. Each character is well rounded and interesting. I don't want to give away the ending, but I actually stood up and yelled at one of the characters! Fun read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bingo-Karen Haney VINE VOICE on August 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
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 the delightful holiday tale about finding new friends in TWO CHRISTMAS MICE, Corinne Demas never fails to please her readers. THE WRITING CIRCLE, her newest novel, 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 who is asked to join when one of their members dies. Nancy 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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tea and Literature on August 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thinking about a group of writers sitting around discussing their projects might not seem like an interesting premise for a novel, but the members of the Leopardi Circle detailed in Corrine Demas' The Writing Circle are anything but static and dry. The book follows the circle's newest recruit, Nancy, as she struggles to fathom sharing her latest novel with a group of distinguished writers. While Nancy might be the focus of the book, the five other members of the circle have their own narratives as well, each taking a turn to voice their own chapter with the current goings-on of their lives. Among them is Bernard, Nancy's friend, who writes biographies, and Virginia, his ex-wife who remains on amicable terms with Bernard. Then there's Chris, a divorced mystery writer in dispute with his ex-wife over his children and Adam, the youngest and most inexperienced of the group. However one of the most successful and brazen of the Leopardi Circle, is Gillian, a cut throat poet who Nancy is warned to watch out for. Through her meetings and interactions with the various members of the Leopardi circle, Nancy trudges on, broadening the character she's built around the memory of her father. Centering this charming, character driven mosaic narrative.

One of the hardest things I imagine an author could do, is write about writing, but Demas does it beautifully and with a wide variety of characters at different stages of their lives and at different points of their career. There's different archetypes to be found in each character, like Virginia as the devoted mother, Gillian as the pretentious and manipulative career woman, and Adam as the boy who hasn't quite grown up.
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More About the Author

Corinne Demas is the author of two collections of short stories, three novels, a memoir, a collection of poetry, two plays, and numerous books for children. She is Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College and a fiction editor of the Massachusetts Review. Before the year 2000, she published her books under the name Corinne Demas Bliss.

Corinne grew up in New York City, in Stuyvesant Town, the subject of her memoir, "Eleven Stories High: Growing Up in Stuyvesant Town 1948-1968". She attended Hunter College High School, graduated from Tufts University, and completed a Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She lived in Pittsburgh for a number of years, teaching at the University of Pittsburgh and at Chatham College.

She lives with her family in Western Massachusetts and spends the summer on Cape Cod. You will find more information at her website:

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