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On Writers and Writing

List Price: $15.95

April 14, 2009 | Paperback |  5.5 x 8.5, 320 Pages | ISBN 9781582434940
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“For Gardner, fiction is real and earnest. The reader who takes it equally seriously will get much from this book.” —New York Times

This compilation of essays and reviews along with an introduction from Charles Johnson, gathered posthumously from the New York Times Book Review and other publications, solidifies John Gardner’s legacy as a consummate teacher and controversial critic with a provocative sense of humor. Writing about his fellow craftsmen, John Gardner offers piercing insights into those whose works he admired and those whose works he didn’t. In exacting unapologetic evaluations upon such writers as Saul Bellow, Vladimir Nabokov, Philip Roth, John Cheever, Larry Woiwode, Joyce Carol Oates, and John Updike, Gardner separates genuine fiction from fakery, careful not to spare his own writings in the process, and in doing so, he displays his influences and wide-reaching observations of the literary life.

Refreshingly unpredictable and self-aware, this collection lays bare the core qualities of lasting fiction and is essential reading for anyone interested in American literature.

JOHN GARDNER is a controversial critic, novelist, teacher, translator, music composer, medievalist, and scholar of ancient languages. He is the best-selling author of several books, including Nickel Mountain, Grendel, The Sunlight Dialogues, and October Light. One who proclaimed himself never to be cautious, he died in a motorcycle accident in 1982.

 

Praise

“For Gardner, fiction is real and earnest. The reader who takes it equally seriously will get much from this book.” —New York Times

“His high critical standards and gimlet insights shine through.” —Publishers Weekly

“John Gardner was known as one of the premier teachers of the craft of writing.” —Amazon.com

“One of the most original and promising younger American novelists.” —Frank McConnell, author of Liar’s Poker

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