An essential guide for writers and readers alike, here is Smiley’s great celebration of the novel. As she embarks on an exhilarating tour through one hundred titles—from classics such as the thousand-year-old Tale of Genji to recent fiction by Zadie Smith and Alice Munro—she explores the power of the form, looking at its history and variety, its cultural impact, and just how it works its magic. She invites us behind the scenes of novel-writing, sharing her own habits and spilling the secrets of her craft, and offering priceless advice to aspiring authors. Every page infects us anew with the passion for reading that is the governing spirit of this gift to book lovers everywhere.
Jane Smiley is the author of numerous novels, including A Thousand Acres, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, and most recently, Golden Age, the concluding volume of The Last Hundred Years trilogy. She is also the author of five works of nonfiction and a series of books for young adults. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she has also received the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature. She lives in Northern California.
“Engaging. . . . Down-to-earth. . . . Smiley’s unmediated voice–blunt, uncompromising and witty–rings from every page. . . . She inspires wicked delight.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A massive victory. . . . Awfully smart. . . . Always a pleasure.” –The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Provocative. . . . Wise and humane. . . . It reminds readers of the novel why they love their avocation. . . . I most heartily recommend it.” –Marjorie Kehe, The Christian Science Monitor
“Thorough, insightful. . . . Sure to inspire delicious debate and excite interest in undiscovered works. . . . Her critiques are shrewd, artful and unflinching. . . . Thirteen Ways continues to whisper its profundities long after the last page is turned.” –Rocky Mountain News