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The Writing Circle Paperback – March 22, 2011
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"You find you simply can't put it down. This is a wonderful book, tense, engaging, and highly recommended."
―Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
"The exurbanite culture and cultured chums Demas evokes have a charmed staying power."―Chicago Tribune
"Fascinating . . . gives readers a seat in the writing world."―Sacramento Book Review
"An amazingly clever novel with depth, drama, and warmth."―Anita Shreve, author of The Pilot's Wife
About the Author
Corinne Demas is the author of Eleven Stories High (SUNY Press), a memoir of growing up in Stuyvesant Town, and the short story collection What We Save for Last (Milkweed Press). Corinne has also written many books for children, including Saying Goodbye to Lulu (Little, Brown). She has been the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship as well as the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship, and has won The Lawrence Foundation Prize for best story to appear in the Michigan Quarterly Review. In addition to writing, she is a Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College and is the Fiction Editor of the Massachusetts Review. She lives in MA and spends her summers on Cape Cod.
Top customer reviews
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There's suave Gillian, the already famous poet in line for a Pulitzer; pompous Bernard who turns out a well-received historical biography approximately once a decade; lonely Chris, a divorced father and successful writer of thrillers; naive Adam, a business man who yearns to be a writer but is as yet unpublished; good-natured Virginia, a well-known historian and Bernard's former wife; and, finally, insecure Nancy, the newest and least confident member, trying to write her first novel.
Six writers, with different personalities and needs, each striving for the same prize: success and recognition through the printed word. Not wanting to spoil the plot, I won't say who gets where or how.
Ms Demas is a fluent writer and smoothly weaves the complicated strands of her characters' lives into an engrossing novel that captures and sustains the reader's interest throughout.
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. Reading each character through their different voices was a joy because each voice was clear and distinct, there was no confusion about what character was speaking and each even seemed to have its own driving force. Many of the characters crossed paths through their children or a friend and in this way it made the narrative complex and interesting. It was in these moments that I didn't want to put the book down and found myself begrudging the fact that I had to go to sleep.
Because of the nature of this book I find it hard to comment on particular events without giving away the entire plot. However Demas' way of entwining the literary conversation with small talk at the meetings was brilliant. I don't think I have ever read a more stimulating conversation on "who versus whom" in a grammatical context. While the craft talk was certainly not the centerpiece of the novel, it was enjoyable because of the characters.
The way the characters approached their work and their lives and seeing how each of them led a writing life was clever and the friendships formed within the circle added to the warmth and depth. Though I thought the novel took a couple chapters to hit its stride, it was a fascinating journey. I believe a large portion of that was because of the different perspectives taken on by each character, particularly as the end of the book approached.
I would recommend this book to anyone who was curious about writing or writer's workshops and enjoys insightful human stories with different perspectives. This is one of my favorites books this year and I highly recommend picking it up on your next trip to the bookstore. The Writing Circle doesn't disappoint and leaves you thinking to the very end.
Final Grade: A+
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And so I stopped.Read more