13 Ways of Looking at the Novel by Jane Smiley

By Jane Smiley

Over a rare twenty-year profession, Jane Smiley has written all types of novels: secret, comedy, historic fiction, epic. “Is there something Jane Smiley can't do?” raves Time magazine. yet within the wake of 11th of September, Smiley faltered in her hitherto unflagging impulse to jot down and made up our minds to technique novels from a distinct attitude: she learn 100 of them, from classics akin to the thousand-year-old Tale of Genji to contemporary fiction by means of Zadie Smith, Nicholson Baker, and Alice Munro.

Smiley explores–as no novelist has prior to her–the unprecedented intimacy of examining, why a unique succeeds (or doesn’t), and the way the radical has replaced through the years. She describes a novelist as “right at the cusp among somebody who is aware every thing and somebody who understands nothing,” but whose “job and ambition is to boost a conception of ways it feels to be alive.”

In her inimitable style–exuberant, candid, opinionated–Smiley invitations us behind the curtain of novel-writing, sharing her personal behavior and spilling the secrets and techniques of her craft. She walks us step by step during the book of her latest novel, Good religion, and, in very important chapters on the best way to write “a novel of your own,” bargains beneficial suggestion to aspiring authors. 

Thirteen methods of the radical may volume to a weird type of autobiography. We see Smiley interpreting in mattress with a chocolate bar; mulling over plot twists whereas cooking dinner for her kinfolk; even, on the age of twelve, devouring Sherlock Holmes mysteries, which she later discovered have been between her earliest literary versions for plot and character.

And in a thrilling end, Smiley considers separately the only hundred books she learn, from Don Quixote to Lolita to Atonement, presenting her personal insights and sometimes arguable opinions. In its scope and gleeful eclecticism, her studying checklist is without doubt one of the such a lot compelling–and surprising–ever assembled.

Engaging, clever, occasionally irreverent, Thirteen Ways is vital examining for somebody who has ever escaped into the pages of a singular or, for that topic, desired to write one. In Smiley’s personal phrases, ones she came upon herself turning to over the process her trip: “Read this. I wager you’ll like it.”

Show description

Read or Download 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel PDF

Best literature books

Early Mystics in Turkish Literature (Routledge Sufi Series)

This publication is a translation of 1 of an important Turkish scholarly works of the twentieth century. It was once the masterpiece of M. F. Koprulu, one among Turkey’s major, and such a lot prolific, intellectuals and students. utilizing a wide selection of Arabic, and particularly Turkish and Persian assets, this ebook sheds gentle at the early improvement of Turkish literature and makes an attempt to teach the continuity during this improvement among the Turks and that of Anatolia. Early Mystics in Turkish Literature addresses this subject in the context of different matters, together with Sufism, Islam and the genesis of Turkish tradition within the Muslim global.

This is a huge contribution to the examine of Turkish literature and is key interpreting for students of Turkish literature, Islam, Sufism and Turkish history.

Le Paris de Modiano

Modiano a fait de Paris sa ville intérieure. Un lieu onirique, une ville métaphysique, intemporelle, où les époques se superposent. remark alors relier les sensations éprouvées par le petit garçon qui découvrait l. a. ville à l'enchevêtrement de rues, de quartiers, d'hôtels, de cafés, de garages, de squares et de boulevards qui innervera pendant plus de quarante ans les romans de l'écrivain ?

The Pilgrim Hawk: A Love Story

This robust brief novel describes the occasions of a unmarried afternoon. Alwyn Tower, an American expatriate and someday novelist, is staying with a chum outdoor of Paris, whilst a well-heeled, 
itinerant Irish couple drops in—with Lucy, their expert hawk, a stressed, sullen, disturbingly totemic presence. Lunch is ready, drink flows. A masquerade, right now harrowing and farcical, starts.  

a piece of classical splendor and concision, The Pilgrim Hawk stands with Faulkner’s The endure as one of many finest American brief novels: a fantastically crafted tale that also is a poignant evocation of the implacable energy of affection.

Additional resources for 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel

Example text

In many ways, it is easy to see why this is. Focusing on the workings of a single mind gives rise to questions of why that mind works that way, or under what circumstances the mind works in that way, or how that mind is unique (thereby warranting such focus). The reader knows it is highly implausible that a single human mind has no social context, and the author knows this, too, so even as a mere filling in of the blanks, the author begins to depict the group that the protagonist is part of. Inevitably, the subject of any novel comes to be the coexistence of the protagonist and his group.

He was a justly celebrated letter writer. He was, of course, a great prose stylist, with many voices and dictions at his command, as inventive with words as any English writer ever. Clearly his relationship to the English language went beyond love to something more intimate, something more living, something like breathing. Dickens introduced certain types of characters into the English novel—characters such as Sam Weller in The PicJ{wicf{ Papers, whose flow of speech is a flow of selfrepresentation and a flow of wisdom, too.

No consciousness is privileged. No class, no degree of virtue or talent, no amount of money, no uniqueness of perspective gets to own the depiction of consciousness. A child, such as James in To the Lighthouse; a troubled man, such as Septimus in Mrs. Dalloway; a not very appealing person, such as Bernard in The Waves, can have as important and revealing experiences as any heroine of Dickens, any hero of Trollope. The author's job, according to Woolf, is to preserve exceptional 2 6 T H I R T E E N W A Y S O F L O O K I N G A T T H E N O V E L moments, not to award them to exceptional people.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.22 of 5 – based on 43 votes