Expert Counsel

How Fiction Works
James Wood
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $22, 288 pp.

In his brief introduction to this valuable and entertaining primer, James Wood proposes to explore the following central questions about the art of fiction: “Is realism real? How do we define a successful metaphor? What is a character? When do we recognize a brilliant use of detail in fiction? What is point of view and how does it work? What is imaginative sympathy? Why does fiction move us?” If the book has a larger argument, he continues, “it is that fiction is both...

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About the Author

William H. Pritchard is the Henry Clay Folger Professor of English at Amherst College. He is the author of Shelf Life: Literary Essays and Reviews (University of Massachusetts Press) among others.