- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Graywolf Press; 2 Expanded edition (September 2, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1555975089
- ISBN-13: 978-1555975081
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Burning Down the House: Essays on Fiction 2 Expanded Edition
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For fiction lovers, history and social commentary on the genre is a thought-provoking addition to reading. Novelist Charles Baxter's essays on contemporary fiction dissect the connections between life, values, and art with unerring and insightful precision. Baxter compares the dysfunction in contemporary fiction to the removal of the villain from politics. He decries the prostituting of epiphany as a commercial product that turns fiction into a pseudo-instruction manual, and he reveals the magic within Donald Barthelme's innovative prose, created with a generosity "almost unseen" in American letters. This is a powerful companion to Baxter's short story collections. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Baxter, a novelist (Shadow Play, LJ 12/92), 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. While Baxter can sometimes sound like a rule-wagging schoolmaster, there is a freshness to his roundabout method of deflating cliches taught at writing programs; his work will appeal to serious writers and readers of fiction.?Amy Boaz, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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