Omri's Reviews > The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers

The Art of Fiction by John Gardner
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's review
Dec 18, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: literature-theory

I’ve been devouring this book, from the first page to the last one, in one single reading. It’s been a long while since I read a text book that made me absorb into it so easily. A fluent, though not too above the eye-level, language that carries you on it wings of the conceptuality behind the art of writing and the art itself. John Gardner created a perfect text book for what being a writer means, in his own personal perspective.

There are many text books out there that will tell you what is right and what is wrong, what is expected and what is redundant, what, how, where, when and why but most of those books focus on a generalized ideas and too much of technicality. To find a book with a personal perspective on how the art of writing should be is not an easy task, and to find one which is good is even a harder task. Gardner gives us what he thinks, and is not afraid to delve into the ugly task of analyzing what are morals in writing and do they have any essence.

The book itself is divided in two – the philosophical self-perspective of Gardner on the art and the expected technicalities as in any other textbook. Although, once the first part is read and understood, the second part of the book has a whole new meaning. Technicality has a whole new meaning.

To be entirely honest – it’s been a while since I’ve felt that I learn something from a book about art. I’ve read quite the pile of articles and been examining both podcasts and books about the art itself. To be confronted with the meaning of writing in such a bold and different approach set my mind in gear, giving me one hell of a ride.

Although the many good words I have to say on this book by no definition is this book fitting all readers. The personal-philosophical first part is arguable, and thus can turn disagreeable readers away of the book and its presentation. I can easily see how some readers will disapprove of some of the ideas, or the method itself or its incompleteness. That does not go to say that this book does not worth the read – even if you find yourself disagreeing that’s a success by itself.

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