What Makes The Master Writer?

  Thumbing through the latest New Yorker issue (March 28, 2016) turned up a pleasant surprise: a short story, “My Purple Scented Novel,” by Ian McEwan, probably today’s most highly regarded English novelist. Predictably for me, the story proved as satisfying as cold watermelon on a hot North Carolina summer day. Then I began to wonder: What…

The Imperfect Novel

I thought it might be time to devote a couple of posts to some of the things that make for a great read, whether you’re a writer or reader — or both. I’ve made such comments in previous posts, but they may sometimes get lost in a post reader’s rush to see whether I liked the book…

The Thing About Movies

I’m a person of habit. Some of them are good – they keep me writing every day, at more or less the same time. A structured existence allows me to do many things a spontaneous one might not. After all, we only have so many waking hours in a day, so many functional years to…

Mirroring Characters

Anna Karenina – Section Five, by Leo Tolstoy I mentioned Tolstoy’s contrasting his characters in the last post, and I want to treat that in more detail. But first, a bit about the storyline in this section: The section opens anticipating Kitty and Lévin’s wedding. He’s antsy, of course, with pre-wedding jitters, and while this…

Smooth Interweaving in High Society

image via dvdbeaver.com Anna Karenina – Section One, by Leo Tolstoy I always start a book slowly – I have to get a feel for the writer's style, the characters, setting, and some idea of where the book will lead me. But I've now finished Section One of Anna Karenina and have these comments: Tolstoy…