The artlessness of fiction

by
February 2007, no. 288

The Dark Part of Me by Belinda Burns

HarperCollins, $26.99 pb, 291 pp

Buy this book

The Pilo Family Circus

by Will Elliott

ABC Books, $29.95 pb, 312 pp

Buy this book

The artlessness of fiction

by
February 2007, no. 288

A number of books have been published of late that theorise the function of literature in contemporary society (a trend indicative of an anxiety about literature in public culture, which is itself worth speculating on). In Why We Read Fiction: Theory of the Mind and the Novel (2006), Lisa Zunshine argues that reading provides us with cognitive practice for our lives as social beings, in which we are called upon to interact with and interpret others. Characterisation, then, would seem to be an important component of the appeal and function of a text. Henry James recognised the importance of character to narrative long ago. In his famous essay, ‘The Art of Fiction’, he asked: ‘What is character but the determination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of character?’

Maria Takolander reviews 'The Dark Part of Me' by Belinda Burns and 'The Pilo Family Circus' by Will Elliott

The Dark Part of Me

by Belinda Burns

HarperCollins, $26.99 pb, 291 pp

Buy this book

The Pilo Family Circus

by Will Elliott

ABC Books, $29.95 pb, 312 pp

Buy this book

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