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Good, long review of Wood's How Fiction Works in The Australian (via 3Quarks):


In How Fiction Works Wood holds up Flaubert as the turning point in the novel's becoming modern: for introducing, all in one package, acute visualisation, a lack of sentimentality, unshowy narration and, above all, an instinct for "truth", no matter how unpalatable. For Wood, this is a moral mission. Flaubert is bent upon a scrupulous investigation of how people really are. But the problem is that Flaubert also seems to represent the novel's endgame for Wood. As a yardstick, Wood's strictly defined ideal of the real leaves him a restricted space in which to move as a critic, and the novel little wriggle room to develop further. It is not nearly as flexible as Kundera's more historical understanding of the novel, as a kind of enlightened mindset, which leaves room for its form to shift and evolve. For in spite of the fact that Wood's books pay lip-service to (and borrow much of their gravitas from) Kundera's two chief preoccupations, scepticism and humour, Wood lacks his cannier understanding that novels are also always strategic. (No wonder Wood, who never openly acknowledges his debt to Kundera, and who differs so fundamentally on the issue of an author's freedoms to self-consciously reflect upon such matters in his work, distances himself from that author at the beginning of How Fiction Works with a snide comment about the lack of "inkiness" in The Art of the Novel.)

Readers Comments

  1. OMG, I am so majorly beihnd, but so grateful to fall asleep so early last night and SLEEP! OMG Sleep! AHHH!! SO, my list is up for this week, albeit WAY LATE! I'm so glad you're on board with starting a list early! :) I love the pictures here, you are so adorable!

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