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The Fun Stuff, and Other Essays

Wood, James, 1965- (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Fun Stuff, and Other Essays
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In twenty-three passionate, sparkling dispatches--which range over such crucial writers as Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, Edmund Wilson, and Mikhail Lermontov--literary critic James Wood offers a panoramic look at the modern novel. He effortlessly connects his encyclopedic, passionate understanding of the literary canon with an equally in-depth analysis of the most important authors writing today, including Cormac McCarthy, Lydia Davis, and Aleksandar Hemon.
Authors: Wood, James, 1965-
Statement of Responsibility: James Wood
Title: The fun stuff, and other essays
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: viii, 339 p. ; 22 cm.
Contents: The fun stuff : homage to Keith Moon
W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz
Kazuo Ishiguro's Never let me go
Thinking: Norman Rush
Cormac McCarthy's The road
Edmund Wilson
Aleksandar Hemon
Beyond a boundary: Netherland as a postcolonial novel
Wounder and wounded
Robert Alter and the King James Bible
Tolstoy's War and peace
Marilynne Robinson
Lydia Davis
Containment: trauma and manipulation in Ian McEwan
Richard Yates
George Orwell's very English revolution
Unfathomable!: (Mikhail Lermontov)
Thomas Hardy
Geoff Dyer
Paul Auster's shallowness
Reality examined to the point of madness: László Krasznahorkai
Ismail Kadare
English muddle: Alan Hollinghurst
Life's white machine: Ben Lerner
Packing my father-in-law's library.
Summary: In twenty-three passionate, sparkling dispatches--which range over such crucial writers as Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, Edmund Wilson, and Mikhail Lermontov--literary critic James Wood offers a panoramic look at the modern novel. He effortlessly connects his encyclopedic, passionate understanding of the literary canon with an equally in-depth analysis of the most important authors writing today, including Cormac McCarthy, Lydia Davis, and Aleksandar Hemon.
Subject Headings: English essays 21st century Literature History and criticism
Topical Term: English essays
Literature
LCCN: 2011052184
ISBN: 9780374159566
0374159564
Branch Call Number: 824.92 W
Research Call Number: JFD 13-124
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Jan 07, 2014
  • lukasevansherman rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

New Yorker book critic James Wood, who also wrote "How Fiction Works," is unapologetically highbrow, which isn't to say that he's showy or arrogant. Even as a former lit major, I sometimes had trouble following him in this collection of essays, which covers contemporary writers like Ian McEwan and Cormac McCarthy, as well as classic authors like Tolstoy, Hardy and Orwell. The only negative essay here is about Paul Auster, whom he lambastes for being shallow and a "fake realist." There are a number of pieces that seem included just to show that he's read obscure authors you'll never read. Laszlo Krasznahorkhai anyone? Or how about "Ismail Kadare was born in Gjirokaster"? He could've totally made up that author and I wouldn't know. I did find it a little frustrating that his taste is so uniformly "literary," with no interest in genre or anything remotely pop. The title essay is about Keith Moon's drumming and may be included to show that he has more common interests, but he approaches the subject in a technical and dry manner at odds with Moon's unhinged drumming and madman persona.

Jun 29, 2013
  • ser_library rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

insightful essays on books and writers, best appreciated if you have read the original authors. I read and learned from essays on Tolstoy, Edmund Wilson, Lydia Davis, the Bible... and now have much more reading to do. It does not include essays on James Joyce or others that i should have read. Jane Austen and Henry James are mentioned often.

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Wood, James, 1965-
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Version pocillo (pocillo) Last updated 2014/08/29 09:56