Inside the Verse Novel: Writers on writing by Linda Weste

Reviewed by
September 2020, no. 424
Buy this book
Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Inside the Verse Novel: Writers on writing' by Linda Weste

Inside the Verse Novel: Writers on writing

by Linda Weste

Australian Scholarly Publishing, $39.95 pb, 182 pp

Buy this book

Inside the Verse Novel: Writers on writing by Linda Weste

Reviewed by
September 2020, no. 424

In his description of the verse novel as ‘the awkward child of successful parents, destined to disappoint both of them’, Michael Symmons Roberts emphasises the form’s sometimes disjunctive use of literary techniques commonly associated with poetry and prose fiction. While the verse novel has gained popularity since the 1980s, many of its features may be traced to epic poems such The Epic of Gilgamesh and Homer’s The Iliad, and the long narrative poems of the Romantic and Victorian periods. The form was established by Alexander Pushkin’s nineteenth-century verse novel Eugene Onegin, which was divided into stanzas; however, the definition and key features of the verse novel are still hotly debated.

Linda Weste’s book of interviews, Inside the Verse Novel: Writers on writing, is an important contribution to the growing, but often conflicted, field of studies on the verse novel. Most importantly, it is the first book of interviews to give priority to practitioners’ views of the form and issues associated with the verse novel’s composition and craft. Weste’s aim is to ‘expand knowledge of the diverse ways … authors [of verse novels] combine narrative and poetic techniques to compose their distinctive works’. The book is full of glistering moments that capture what David Mason identifies as the form’s ‘tension and frisson’.

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Inside the Verse Novel: Writers on writing' by Linda Weste

Inside the Verse Novel: Writers on writing

by Linda Weste

Australian Scholarly Publishing, $39.95 pb, 182 pp

From the New Issue

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.