The Good of the Novel
Liam McIlvanney and Ray Ryan
What makes a novel a novel? How does the language used in a novel create a world different from that of drama or poetry? What kinds of truth can be told uniquely by the novel? And what role can the literary critic play in the egalitarian age of the internet?
In an interview with the New York Times Martin Amis once spoke of his intention to describe in his fiction simply ‘what it’s like to be alive now’. This attempt to capture the multifariousness of experience through character, narrative and style - what could collectively be called technique - is at the heart of the novelist’s art, and it is evaluated and celebrated in the thirteen specially commissioned essays collected here.
The Good of the Novel brings together some of today’s most strenuous and perceptive critics, several of them novelists themselves, and puts them in contact with some of the finest novels of the past three decades: amongst many others, Robert Macfarlane addresses Alan Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty ; Tessa Hadley examines Coetzee's Disgrace ; and James Wood takes on Ian McEwan’s Atonement .
Insightful, intelligent and illuminating, The Good of the Novel will seek to answer probing questions about the role of the modern novel, and, by implication, the role of the modern critic. bringing rewarding new perspectives to some of the most fundamental questions in contemporary fiction.
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