Thirteen Ways Of Looking At The Novel
In her inimitable style–exuberant, candid, opinionated–Smiley explores the power of the novel, looking at its history and variety, its cultural impact, and just how it wor ...more
But that’s not what this review is about. Jane Smiley’s “Thirteen ways of Looking at the Novel” w ...more
"unfortunately for the highly ideological novelist, ideas change - the first things to die in any novel are those precious social theories that the ...more
I really, really enjoyed 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel. I think it's great for someone who, like me, enjoys reading novels but doesn't think much about what they are or why she likes them, who'd appreciate some framework for thinking about them that isn't based at all in literary criticism or theory. Smiley isn't writing as an academic or a critic, but as a reader a ...more
This is a big, keep-on-the shelf reference for would-be novelists. Lots of really important tips for authors, very practical stuff. Like David noted on his Goodreads review, there are quite a few novelists who should really study this before they write again.
My expectations for this chunky, pithy, reference was that it would be a book for readers. Really it is a book for ...more
Critical opinion varies greatly on the discourse offered by this Pulitzer Prize winner on the biography and art of the novel. While some critics applaud her convictions on what makes a novel and a novelist, others feel she needs to exit the classroom and enter the minds of the mainstream reader. As the author of 11 novels who turned her attention to devouring books when she lost inspiration while writing Good Faith (**** July/Aug 2003) during 9/11, she has certainly done her homework. Perhaps th...more
She calls To Kill a Mockingbird "The Uncle Tom's Cabin of the 20th century." Finally, someone agrees with me!
There's n ...more
I didn't *love* it, but it's an academic book, and dense, and there's a lot I want to review.
However long it's been on my "currently reading" list, it didn't actually take me 7 months to read. But the library kept taking it back, and it wasn't something meant to read in one sitting.
Smiley is insightful and intelligently articulates what she thinks the novel is, which I must admit I don't fully agree with. Nevertheless, she argues well for her position, and th ...more
I've had some issue with my own writing lately and to work out some problems in my mind, I stopped and read this book, which has been so helpful to me. Jane Smiley is a genius! For one she wrote this book for herself when she g ...more
The first twel ...more
I thought it funny that she didn't admire "The Unberable Lightness of Being." Perhaps she is right th ...more
13 Ways is three books in one. The first nine chapters offer a unique discussion of the the novel form referencing novels from “The Tale of Genji” (written in 11th century Japan) to the end of the 20th century. Part two contains three chapters targeted to would-be novelists and the third part of the book consists of short reviews of 101 novels.
I highly recommend parts 1 and 3 to students of the novel and to novelists of the would-be and al ...more
This doesn't compel me to keep reading.
Smiley wrote this book after 9/11 and after the really horrible novel "Good Faith." I disliked "Good Faith" intensely -- almost as passionately a ...more
When writing your novel, Smiley insists your characters possess an abundance of talent, misfortune, and feral nature, and you must pepper everything with insight and paradoxes. A story about war is really about peace, and ...more
Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School. She obtained a A.B. at Vassar College, then earned a M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar ...more