H's Reviews > On Becoming a Novelist

On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner
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's review
May 16, 2009

bookshelves: writerly-craft
Read in June, 2009

"Finally, the true novelist is the one who doesn't quit. Novel-writing is not so much a profession as a yoga, or "way," an alternative to ordinary life-in-the-world. Its benefits are quasi-religious--a changed quality of mind and heart, satisfactions no non-novelist can understand--and its rigors generally bring no profit except to the spirit. For those who are authentically called to the profession, spiritual profits are enough."

My third (fourth?) reread of this book, and definitely not the last. I understand and appreciate Gardner's advice more each time. His tastes (heavy realism) are to be taken with a grain of salt, but he is a grand authority on what this kind of life is, and what to look forward to and look out for.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Simone (new)

Simone Collins Ah! Books on writing. Hurrah. Have you read On Writing or Bird by Bird? I liked those a lot.

message 2: by H (new) - added it

H ooh, I gotta reread Bird by Bird too! I might actually check out Ann Lamott's novels too... funny how I always hear about Bird by Bird, but not a word about her actual fiction! who's On Writing by?

message 3: by Simone (new)

Simone Collins Stephen King. It's good, though I like Bird by Bird better. On Writing is more autobiographical. Both are great though! It is funny about Ann Lamott though. I seriously need to read her other books too... her style is most amusing.

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