This is a book about books, but not a list of books to be read in the future. This is a book to understand books. This is a book to put a name on the different styles, know the evolution of literature, analyse some sentences, to get a better understanding of the use of certain narrators’ point of view to get different perspectives on the same event, etc. This book is about this, and at the same time it gave me a lot of new titles and some unknown authors to read, soon.
The author has used a random sequence of topics, but you can go through an index to find the topic that you are interested.
Maybe the reason that it is easy to read this essay, which otherwise could be difficult to follow, is that the author is also a teacher. Lodge use a clear language far from any technicality. The book is intended for “general readers.”
I never thought of this: “.. the beginning of a novel is the threshold, separating the real world we inhabit, from the world the novelist has imagined.” And, this is utterly true. When we start reading a book we are introducing ourselves to a different world.
“We read fiction after all, not just for the story, but to enlarge our knowledge and understanding of the world,…”
As a follower of Magical Realism Literature, I enjoyed particularly this chapter and the reflection of it author about why so few writers in England write magical realism.
“Perhaps Britain’s relatively untraumatic modern history has encouraged its writers to preserve with traditional realism.”
And this is not the only chapter that links the history of a country with the kind of literature that it writer uses to write.
David John Lodge (born 28 January 1935) is an English author and literary critic.Lodge was Professor of English Literature at the University of Birmingham until 1987, and he is best known for his novels satirising academic life, particularly the “Campus Trilogy” — Changing Places: A Tale of Two campuses (1975), Small World : An Academic Romance (1984), and Nice work (1988). Small World and Nice Work were both shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Another major theme in his work is Roman Catholicism, beginning from his first published novel The Picturegoers (1960).
Lodge has also written several television screenplays and three stage plays. Since retiring from academia he has continued to publish works of literary criticism, which often draw on his own experience as a practising novelist and scriptwriter.