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The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing
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Tin House Books 2017
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Description

A masterclass for those who love reading literature and for those who aspire to write it.


"Read everything that is good for the good of your soul. Then learn to read as a writer, to search out that hidden machinery, which it is the business of art to conceal and the business of the apprentice to comprehend."


In The Hidden Machinery, critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling author Margot Livesey offers a masterclass for those who love reading literature and for those who aspire to write it. Through close readings, arguments about craft, and personal essay, Livesey delves into the inner workings of fiction and considers how our stories and novels benefit from paying close attention to both great works of literature and to our own individual experiences. Her essays range in subject matter from navigating the shoals of research to creating characters that walk off the page, from how Flaubert came to write his first novel to how Jane Austen subverted romance in her last one. As much at home on your nightstand as it is in the classroom, The Hidden Machinery will become a book readers and writers return to over and over again.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
07/04/2017
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781941040690
ASIN:
B01MQHBK08
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Margot Livesey. (2017). The Hidden Machinery: Essays on Writing. Tin House Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Margot Livesey. 2017. The Hidden Machinery: Essays On Writing. Tin House Books.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Margot Livesey, The Hidden Machinery: Essays On Writing. Tin House Books, 2017.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Margot Livesey. The Hidden Machinery: Essays On Writing. Tin House Books, 2017. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:57:51
Date Updated:
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      • fileAs: Livesey, Margot
      • bioText: MARGOT LIVESEY is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Mercury, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, The House on Fortune Street, Banishing Verona, Eva Moves the Furniture, The Missing World, Criminals, and Homework. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Vogue, and the Atlantic, and she is the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Born in Scotland, Livesey currently lives in the Boston area and is a professor of fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
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shortDescription

A masterclass for those who love reading literature and for those who aspire to write it.

"Read everything that is good for the good of your soul. Then learn to read as a writer, to search out that hidden machinery, which it is the business of art to conceal and the business of the apprentice to comprehend."

In The Hidden Machinery, critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling author Margot Livesey offers a masterclass for those who love reading literature and for those who aspire to write it. Through close readings, arguments about craft, and personal essay, Livesey delves into the inner workings of fiction and considers how our stories and novels benefit from paying close attention to both great works of literature and to our own individual experiences. Her essays range in subject matter from navigating the shoals of research to creating characters that walk off the page, from how Flaubert came to write his first novel to how Jane Austen subverted...

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title
The Hidden Machinery
fullDescription

A masterclass for those who love reading literature and for those who aspire to write it.

"Read everything that is good for the good of your soul. Then learn to read as a writer, to search out that hidden machinery, which it is the business of art to conceal and the business of the apprentice to comprehend."

In The Hidden Machinery, critically acclaimed and New York Times bestselling author Margot Livesey offers a masterclass for those who love reading literature and for those who aspire to write it. Through close readings, arguments about craft, and personal essay, Livesey delves into the inner workings of fiction and considers how our stories and novels benefit from paying close attention to both great works of literature and to our own individual experiences. Her essays range in subject matter from navigating the shoals of research to creating characters that walk off the page, from how Flaubert came to write his first novel to how Jane Austen subverted romance in her last one. As much at home on your nightstand as it is in the classroom, The Hidden Machinery will become a book readers and writers return to over and over again.

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reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Andrew Barrett, National Book Award winner
      • content: I've learned a great deal over the years from the wise counsel and dazzling intelligence of my dear friend Margot Livesey. With these brilliant essays, she offers all her lucky readers a new way to understand fiction's inner workings. Her readings of old favorites and more recent delights brim with warmth and insight and her revelations make this an essential companion for all serious readers and writers.
      • premium: False
      • source: James Magnuson, Director of the Michener Center for Writers and author of FAMOUS WRITERS I HAVE KNOWN
      • content: There is no finer teacher of writing in America than Margot Livesey. The young writer who spends an hour with Livesey leaves with pockets filled with nuggets of her sly intuitions. To have an entire book of her wit, wisdom and constructive suggestions is to possess the mother lode.
      • premium: False
      • source: Francine Prose
      • content: If only I'd been able to read The Hidden Machinery before I began my first novel. It would have saved me so much trouble! Margot Livesey's essays are not only helpful and informative (about writing and great writers—Austen! Woolf! Flaubert!) but every witty, elegant sentence is a pure pleasure to read.
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        February 6, 2017
        Livesey (Mercury) writes with wisdom and insight about the craft of writing, proposing to expose what the professional author conceals that the apprentice fiction writer needs to know. This includes how character, plot, and imagery “work together to make an overarching argument” and how the life and times of an author shape a work. Examining writers such as Austen, Flaubert, Shakespeare, and Woolf, Livesey analyzes their techniques, adding insights from E.M. Forster’s Aspects of the Novel and John Gardner’s The Art of Fiction. Her work yields interesting nuggets of information, such as the importance of secondary characters who can, if needed, spring to life, or the use of objects to reveal emotions. Relying on famous authors makes a compelling strategy, as their work is already familiar to many readers (Livesey’s own novels, which she also discusses, will not be quite so well known). The book is skillfully written: one might quibble that Livesey focuses a bit too much on the personal saga of her trials with a critical father and unloving stepmother, but despite that distraction, she offers helpful strategies for thinking about the elusive art of fiction.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        May 1, 2017
        From the noted creative writing teacher and novelist, a smart, unpretentious guide to "writing the life, shaping the novel."The eponymous hidden machinery is twofold: the nuts and bolts of craft, which give a novel form and function, and "the secret psychic life of the author," which shapes its emotional undercurrents. Livesey (Fiction/Iowa Writers' Workshop; Mercury, 2016, etc.) concentrates initially on technique, beginning with the lessons she learned from Irish novelist Brian Moore when she was an aspiring writer waitressing in Toronto: "the actual words...make all the difference" and "every sentence matter[s]." Employing a winningly confidential first-person voice, Livesey uses her own struggles and examples ranging from Jane Austen to Jane Smiley to elucidate such basics as creating character and writing dialogue as well as more intangible elements like developing a clear aesthetic. A fascinating chapter on "How to Tell a True Story" categorizes literature on a continuum ranging from "fiction," in which every element is carefully designed to create a coherent overall impact, and "antifiction," which emulates the messy confusion of real life and seeks to make readers feel "that the events described really had occurred." It's characteristic of Livesey's inclusive spirit that she does not privilege one over the other but explores each as a strategy that suits different kinds of materials and goals. "We are always seeking authority for our work," she writes. "The question is what the source will be." Admirers of the author's fiction will enjoy glimpses of the autobiographical elements underpinning it: a mother who died young (Eva Moves the Furniture), a detested stepmother (the story "Learning by Heart"), a miserable four years in boarding school (The Flight of Gemma Hardy), and a difficult relationship with her father, as yet not resolved into art but the subject of the moving pages that close the book's final chapter on "navigating the shoals of research." Would-be writers will find this both useful and inspiring, while general readers can simply enjoy Livesey's keen insights and engaging prose.

        COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

subtitle
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