Joseph's Reviews > How Fiction Works

How Fiction Works by James    Wood
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's review
Nov 11, 2009

liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read in November, 2009

I tend to approach books like this with my expectations set too high, and while I'm trying to factor that into my evaluation, the sad truth is that I'm not taking all too terribly much away from this one. Wood clearly knows what he likes and has put a great deal of effort into determining exactly how that happens, but I think he may have been better off in exploring instances when fiction doesn't work (a la The Reader's Manifesto).

Sadly, I'm not terribly familiar with most of the literature he uses as examples, and while he does a good job of contextualizing the works, it's really impossible for him to overcome that failing on my part.

As for the actual book, I really disliked his choice to divide his writing into many short sections. It's a stupid thing to fixate on, but it left me with a staccato reading experience, and it seemed as though any time he started to get on a roll, it would be time to jump to a different topic.

Eh, it's not as bad as I'm making it seem; I just know that I won't remember any of it in a month or so.

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