Drawing on his weekly Guardian column, "Elements of Fiction," John Mullan offers an engaging look at the novel, focusing mostly on works of the last ten years as he illuminates the rich resources of novelistic technique.
Mullan sheds light on some of the true masterworks of contemporary fiction, including Monica Ali's Brick Lane, J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace, Don DeLillo's Underworld, Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Patricia Highsmith's Ripley under Ground, Ian McEwan's Atonement, John le Carré's The Constant Gardener, Philip Roth's The Human Stain, Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything Is Illuminated, and Zadie Smith's White Teeth. He highlights how these acclaimed authors use some of the basic elements of fiction. Some topics (like plot, dialogue, or location) will appear familiar to most novel readers, while others (meta-narrative, prolepsis, amplification) will open readers' eyes to new ways of understanding and appreciating the writer's craft. Mullan also excels at comparing modern and classic authors--Nick Hornby's adoption of a female narrator is compared to Daniel Defoe's; Ian McEwan's use of weather is set against Austen's and Hardy's.
How Novels Work explains how the pleasures of novel reading often come from the formal ingenuity of the novelist, making visible techniques and effects we are often only half-aware of as we read. It is an entertaining and stimulating volume that will captivate anyone who is interested in the contemporary or the classical novel.
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From Publishers Weekly:
John Mullan is Professor of English at University College London. He is the author of Sentiment and Sociability: The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century and co-editor of Eighteenth-Century Popular Culture: An Anthology. A broadcaster and journalist as well as an academic, he writes a weekly column on contemporary fiction for the Guardian.
Based on Mullan's weekly "Elements of Fiction" column from UK's The Guardian, this volume intelligently dismantles a hefty stack of beloved novels to find out what makes them tick. Mullan is interested in fiction that most resonates with contemporary audiences-the books that readers remember and are eager to share and discuss-and, consequently, a number of book-club favorites turn up here, including Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres, Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime. Moving with critical dexterity from Martin Amis to Richard Yates to Virginia Woolf to a small library of other well-known authors, Mullan's methods-which are, in effect, to claw at the ineffable qualities of modern-day classics until some concrete observations emerge-are consistently readable and relevant, illuminating well each chapter's topic (Genre, Voices, Structure, Detail and Style among them). Although Mullan notes in the introduction that he revised, rearranged, and rewrote the columns extensively, the book retains-to its benefit-a serial, journalistic feel, moving the ambitious project from topic to topic and book to book at a pace that allows for real mechanical investigation but bars stalling.
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Descripción Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 2006. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Never has contemporary fiction been more widely discussed and passionately analysed; recent years have seen a huge growth in the number of reading groups and in the interest of a non-academic readership in the discussion of how novels work. Drawing on his weekly Guardian column, Elements of Fiction , John Mullan examines novels mostly of the last ten years, many of which have become firm favourites with reading groups. He reveals the rich resources of novelistic technique, setting recent fiction alongside classics of the past. Nick Hornby s adoption of a female narrator is compared to Daniel Defoe s; Ian McEwan s use of weather is set against Austen s and Hardy s; Carole Shield s chapter divisions are likened to Fanny Burney s. Each section shows how some basic element of fiction is used. Some topics (like plot, dialogue, or location) will appear familiar to most novel readers; others (metanarrative, prolepsis, amplification) will open readers eyes to new ways of understanding and appreciating. Nº de ref. de la librería APC9780199281770