What About the Baby?: Some Thoughts on the Art of Fiction (Paperback)

What About the Baby?: Some Thoughts on the Art of Fiction By Alice McDermott Cover Image
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A collection of essays, lectures, and observations on the art of writing fiction from Alice McDermott, winner of the National Book Award and unmatched "virtuoso of language and image" (Rebecca Steinitz, The Boston Globe).

Laying bare the intricate process of storytelling, McDermott shares her invaluable advice on the subtleties of writing, blending the practical with the profound in What About the Baby?

McDermott also serves throughout as the artful conductor of a literary chorus, quoting generously from the work of other great writers (including Tolstoy, Shakespeare, Nabokov, Morrison, and Woolf ), beautifully joining her voice with theirs. These stories of lessons learned and books read, and of the terrors and the joys of what she calls “this mad pursuit,” form a rich and valuable sourcebook for readers and writers alike: a deeply charming meditation on the unique gift that is literature.

Enshrouded in a layer of wisdom, humor, and an undying passion for literature, What About the Baby? is an engaging exploration of the art of literary creation. This book’s insightful narrative is a not-to-be-missed journey for anyone enticed by the magic of the written word.

About the Author

Alice McDermott is the author of nine novels, all published by FSG, including Charming Billy, winner of the National Book Award, and That Night, At Weddings and Wakes, and After This, which were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. She is also the author of the essay collection What About the Baby?: Some Thoughts on the Art of Fiction. Her stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, and other publications. She lives outside Washington, DC.

Praise For…

Praise for What About the Baby?

"Fans of McDermott’s fiction should flock to this sprightly collection, which demonstrates that the author expects “a lot” from the craft . . . Set aside those bulky how-to handbooks for this healthy balm of common-sense wisdom, inspiration, and encouragement." —Kirkus Reviews

"With style and wit, novelist McDermott (The Ninth Hour) offers a master class on writing fiction . . . Her love of fiction and its craft is apparent, and her advice is at once encouraging and direct: “I expect a lot of fiction—of mine and yours and everybody else’s.” Within these pages, there is room at the table for all." —Publishers Weekly

"[T]his collection offers a tender but still often pragmatic set of reflections on writing. Most of all, it is a welcoming and warmhearted exploration of what it means to write (and re-write) when one finds one can do nothing else." —Shelf Awareness

Praise for Alice McDermott

“McDermott is a poet of corporeal description . . . it's the way she marries the spirit to the physical world that makes her work transcendent.” —Sarah Begley, Time

"McDermott manages to write lyrically in plain language, she is able to find the drama in uninflected experience.” —Charles McNulty, The Los Angeles Times

“That’s the spectacular power of McDermott’s writing: Without ever putting on literary airs, she reveals to us what’s distinct about characters who don’t have the ego or eloquence to make a case for themselves as being anything special.” Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air, NPR

“Vivid and arresting . . . Marvelously evocative.” —Mary Gordon, The New York Times Book Review

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250849229
ISBN-10: 1250849225
Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: August 16th, 2022
Pages: 256
Language: English