It’s a collection of insights and habits as described by a mixed group of successfully published fiction writers.
It’s okay, but I’ll probably put it in the stacks for donation.
It reads like everyone wrote their answers to the topic-driven Q&A at home and sent in their answers on a telecommute basis. There’s no evident interaction or the feeling of listening to a panel at a seminar. The moderator becomes an editor and is sometimes inconsistent, giving us not enough in-depth discussion on some topics and way too much chat on others. In some cases, when things are just warming up and getting interesting, he pulls the plug. Maybe the mailed-in supply of material ended too soon.
That aside, there are lots of interesting tidbits for writers to consider and measure their process against. The topics are given in a TOC, which is pretty generalized. So in order to relocate something for reference, it’s probably necessary to have read all of Joshua Foer’s memory book (see May 12). Thats okay. The book is okay even if you open a page and go fishing.
The title refers to a Borges story. It sounds like a Sunday-school play. I get the connotation of it being “inspirational,” or maybe that was an accident, and no one could come up with a better title. The cover’s Halloween colors dilute the air of holiness.
I didn’t know who many of these authors are, and tended to skip and carefully read responses from the bigger names: Chabon, Egan, Goldman, those. I hope all the writers got paid well to talk shop and put their necks out there in print. Their secrets about the supposed miracle aren’t secrets anymore.