Kerime B. Toksu's Reviews > 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel

13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley
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May 13, 2013

it was amazing

This is a book you want to have on your shelf, whether you're a reader or a writer. Jane Smiley, author of "A Thousand Acres," hit a wall with her writing in 2001: in the wake of 9/11 and various life changes, she was feeling "diminished inventiveness as well as diminished pleasure" while writing. So she decided to read one hundred novels and rethink her ideas on the novel form. The result of this experiment is an amazing book that's part literary criticism and part autobiography.

One of my favorite chapters in the book is "The Circle of the Novel," where she gives a cogent explanation of reader expectations when faced with particular types of novelistic discourse. For example, Smiley believes the reader's pleasure in polemical discourse is in the writer's eloquence as well as her pushing of boundaries. I wouldn't have thought of the second aspect.

But this is no dry book of literary criticism. Smiley manages to explain her theories and offer examples in a thoroughly engaging and entertaining way.

Also, as she did read a hundred novels, Smiley provides short analyses of each of those novels in the context of all the theories she's presented throughout the book.


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Reading Progress

May 13, 2013 – Started Reading
May 13, 2013 – Shelved
June 24, 2013 – Finished Reading

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