Ever read a novel or a book of short stories or novellas and wonder if the writer is really writing about herself? That no matter the subject matter or story direction, the author is simply projecting himself as a character into the book?

This is one of the peripheral tenets of post-modernism, particularly, the process of something called deconstruction. Here, the idea is that every piece of writing can only be about the author, no matter how cloaked in exciting facts and story elements.

So here’s a fun thing to try – if you have all the time in the world, and nothing else to worry about:

Put on your deconstruction hat and thumb through your favorite authors’ works (and let’s limit them to American writers). Resurrect a sense of the primary characters and consider them alongside what you know of the author. In case you have a hard time coming up with appropriate writers and their works, let me suggest a few:

  • John Steinbeck
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Joyce Carol Oates
  • Ian Frazier
  • Paula McClain
  • John Grisham

Some books and some writers may constitute a stretch here, but I’d be interested in what you come up with. It’d make a great conversation on the blog, don’t you think?


Visit my website here. Within it you’ll find more on books and events that matter to me — and possibly to you. And there’s a gridleyfires Facebook page, too, if you can find it.

2 thoughts on “

  1. I often do this, and wonder how much of the real writer is being seen in a given scene, or the converse, that they’ve taken what they would do and reverse it 180. I’ve done what you suggest in the past with Louise Erdrich in ‘The Roundhouse’, to Jonathan Franzen in his novel, ‘The Connections’, and of course, Chabon, ‘Wonder Boys’. Cheers

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