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How Fiction Works (Tenth Anniversary Edition): Updated and Expanded Paperback – August 7, 2018

4.6 out of 5 stars 69 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A San Francisco Chronicle Top 50 Best Nonfiction Book of the Year
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Economist, The Kansas City Star, Library Journal


“ An articulate reminder of the framework that is essential to constructing a lasting work of the
imagination.” ―The Miami Herald

“ Wood’s arranging of source material to prove his points is as fluid and lovely as any great composer’s arrangement of musical notes, and, if nothing else, How Fiction Works will inspire you to simply read more . . . [A] lovely, eloquent ode to reading.” ―The Oregonian

“ This admirable book is, among other things, a successful attempt to replace E. M. Forster’s Aspects
of the Novel
as an accessible guide to the mechanics of fiction. Without losing sight of its promise to address the common reader rather than the specialist, How Fiction Works is much more sophisticated than Forster’s book . . . Wood has thought keenly and profitably about such matters. He also benefits, as Forster did not, from wide reading in contemporary fiction.” ―Frank Kermode, The New Republic

How Fiction Works should delight and enlighten practicing novelists, would-be novelists, and all passionate readers of fiction . . . Enchanting.” ―The Economist

“Wood's enthusiasm is glorious . . . A delight . . . The pleasure in this book lies in watching Wood read.” ―Lev Grossman, Time

“An articulate reminder of the framework that is essential to constructing a lasting work of the imagination.” ―The Miami Herald

“Wood is among the few contemporary writers of great consequence . . . Reading Wood, no matter the book under review, provides enormous pleasure.” ―Los Angeles Times

“Highly stimulating stuff―if it doesn’t make you hug your bookcase gratefully, you’re probably an incorrigible ‘formalist-cum-structuralist.’ ” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Through Wood’s close, mostly loving, frequently funny, occasionally dizzying examination, our reading experience is amplified and enriched . . . Wood’s wit and occasional hilarious commentary are well timed and sizzlingly accurate.” ―Virginia Quarterly Review

“ By examining the minutiae of character, narrative, and style in a range of fictional works that starts with the Bible and ends with Coetzee and Pynchon, he fondly and delicately pieces back together what the deconstructors put asunder.” ―The Guardian (UK)

“A fiercely committed critic and consummate stylist.” ―John Banville, The New York Review of Books

“A perceptive and graceful essay which almost anybody who's interested in books could read . . . Well worth reading.” ―The Sunday Times (UK)

About the Author

James Wood is a staff writer at The New Yorker and Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism at Harvard University. He is the author of How Fiction Works, as well as two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, and a novel, The Book Against God.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Picador; Revised edition (August 7, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250183928
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250183927
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 6.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 4.43 x 0.81 x 7.28 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 69 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
69 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on May 19, 2021
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Reviewed in the United States on January 17, 2019
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Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2020
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Top reviews from other countries

Valerie J.
3.0 out of 5 stars DECKLE EDGES DISAPPOINTING
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 5, 2018
Verified Purchase
Customer image
3.0 out of 5 stars DECKLE EDGES DISAPPOINTING
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 5, 2018
I bought this paperback book to use for my studies on creative writing and I like to flick through my reference books, of which I have many. Unfortunately, this book came with deckle edges (see images) and I cannot actually see anywhere on this webpage, or even on the book itself, that it was advertised as such. A smooth edge on a book allows you to flick through page by page when looking for a particular page but with deckle edging that doesn't work out so well; not at all really.

As I haven't actually used the book yet, or read it, as it only arrived today, I cannot tell you as to how valuable it is as a research tool, or not. The print is large enough and clear, and the paper somewhat old-fashioned in texture but not in a bad way.

There is a rather limited list of contents at the front (see image) and yet, within the 'chapters', there is numbering which breaks the chapters into sections without any mention of why: no subheadings. See image. According to the contents page, page number (33) comes under the 'Narration' chapter, and yet there are two breaks on page (33) numbered 26 and 27. If a writer is going to do that, number paragraph breaks, then there needs to be some explanation as to why, e.g. subheadings. There is an Index at the back which refers to page numbers only. It all seems very odd. Anyway, you have been warned.
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janaina
1.0 out of 5 stars As páginas estão estragadas.
Reviewed in Brazil on May 4, 2020
Verified Purchase
Customer image
1.0 out of 5 stars As páginas estão estragadas.
Reviewed in Brazil on May 4, 2020
A qualidade do livro está péssima!
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