Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Art of Time in Fiction: As Long as It TakesThe Art of Time in Fiction: As Long as It Takes by Joan Silber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 The Art of Time in Fiction: As Long as It Takes is a craft book for authors, but Silber also has a stellar book list with descriptions of the use of time in fiction. Even without concern for how to use time in a novel or short story, you could read the titles in her bibliography and know what good writing is all about. From Chekhov's "The Darling" to Henry James ("The Beast in the Jungle"), some Proust and deMaupassant, all the way to Denis Johnson, Alice Munro and Arundhati Roy. Many short stories are included but novels as well. There are translations from Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, French and Italian. There are books I have never heard of (Ya Hua's To Live) and short stories I've missed, even a challenge such as Kiergaard's Diary. I want to jump into a hammock with this list and forget my current fiction pickups at the library. Her clarity and love of literature underlies an informative and helpful discussion of time as it is handled in story, how it is slowed down or speeded up, or made circular or fabulously upended but, quoting Kierkegaard, "life can only be understood backward but has to be lived forward." Any which way it moves in time, read Silber's succinct thoughts and explore her bibliography.

View all my reviews

No comments :