The Story Begins: Essays on Literature

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9780151002979: The Story Begins: Essays on Literature

In these essays, Amos Oz brings his experience as novelist, teacher and critic to bear on the different ways in which diverse writers enter into contact with the reader - by wooing them or by shock tactics. He analyzes writers such as Chekoh, Kafka, Agnon, Garcia Marques, and Raymond Carver.

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Amos Oz has long been regarded as one of the most important of Israel's post-war novelists, best known for his widely acclaimed novels Panther in the Basement, Don't Call it Night and Black Box. In The Story Begins, Oz reminds his audience that he is also a brilliant literary critic. Examining the beginnings of 10 novels and short stories from the past two centuries of fiction, he offers a series of beautifully precise and illuminating accounts of the ways in which different writers establish a pact with their readers, luring them into the particular fictional world of their books. Along the way Oz offers short but incisive accounts of the fiction of, amongst others, Fontane, Gogol, Kafka, Carver, Marquez and Elsa Morante. The Story Begins is that great rarity, a perfect fusion of literary criticism with creative writing, where the novelist acts as critic, and in the process reveals just how subtle and skilful is the process of writing fiction. The book is also Oz's pleasures of reading, rather than the rigours of academic analysis. The only disappointment that The Story Begins provides is that it does not explore more than 10 pieces of fiction.-- Jerry Brotton

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