- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reissue edition (June 4, 1991)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679734031
- ISBN-13: 978-0679734031
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 145 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers Reissue Edition
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"It will fascinate anyone interested in how fiction gets put together. For the young writer it will become a necessary handbook, a stern judge, an encouraging friend... In the first half of the book, Gardner investigated just what fiction is. In the second half, he treats specific technical matters. The Art of Fiction is filled with lecture counsel, wise encouragement." -John L'Heureux, The New York Times Book Review
"A densely packed book of advice to all writers, not just young ones... It is serious, provocative, and funny, and I recommend it to anyone who cares about literature."- Margaret Manning, The Boston Globe
"He lays out virtually everything a person might want to know [about] how to say it, with good and bad examples and judgments falling like autumn leaves in a November storm." -William McPherson, The Washington Post
"The next best thing to graduate workshop in fiction writing. Drawing on examples from Homer to Kafka to Joyce Carol Oates, Gardner unravels the mysteries of plot, sentence structure, diction, and point of view." - Book-of-the-Month Club News
From the Inside Flap
ardner was famous for his generosity to young writers, and (this book) is his . . . gift to them. The Art of Fiction will fascinate anyone interested in how fiction gets put together. For the young writer, it will become a necessary handbook, a stern judge, an encouraging friend."--The New York Times Book Review.
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Or most people for that matter. Somewhere amidst all the detail about writing, there are some strong and buried core messages. These center on the morality, courage and honesty of the aspiring writer. Gardner insists on head, heart and something else as well. He calls it soul; I am not sure what I call it. Will? Discipline? Ethics? Something like that.
I found a lot to chew over in the work. Some thoughts that I'm still considering:
nature of metafiction
role of honesty in fiction
faults of the soul: sentimentality, frigidity and mannerism
In addition, there are a number of useful points on technique and style that caused me to take some notes and ruefully reread more than a few paragraphs. I have to agree with most of these things without reservation. On the larger subjects, I still have some doubts about a few of his ideas-- particularly the places where he takes a harder line.
If you are planning to read this book, be aware that Gardner uses examples from literature and the visual arts to illustrate a number of his points. You either need to be reasonably well-read or be willing to read over these moments and trust to the text itself. I found that I got enough from the examples to see his point. I also added a number of books/authors to my reading list for further reference. I can imagine, however, if you have not read a lot of novels or short stories than it may feel frustrating to keep reading references that you do not understand. The average English Lit major or aficionado should do just fine.