Dan Sandman

06: Faulks on Fiction by Sebastian Faulks

In Books, Literature, Non-Fiction on 06/02/2015 at 12:00 pm

Faulks on Fiction by Sebastian FaulksFaulks on Fiction; a Story of the Novel in 28 Characters (2011) is a non-fiction book published by BBC Books. Its essays are divided into four categories: heroes, lovers, snobs and villains; which averages at seven characters per topic. By organising the book (t.v series) in such a thematic way, readers (watchers) are asked to think about popular character types, and engage with fiction in a reasonable way.

Historically speaking, Sebastian Faulks (1953 – ) draws from a wide time-period, beginning with Robinson Crusoe (1719) and including books written in the present day. Focusing entirely on the novel, with a neat writing style, the well-known British novelist and journalist writes very good essays. His strength is to stick to guns, examining ‘the work’ and not ‘the author’s life’. Indeed, Faulks comes across as a firm believer in a strong plot and a healthy imagination, even quoting Gustave Flaubert (1821 – 1880) at the outset: –

‘The author’s life is nothing; it’s the work that matters.’

Although his views are somewhat conservative – he prefers writers not to write about their own life – his psychological insight is second-to-none. There are so many great lines in this book, so many witty and poignant statements; that even when I was reading about books I hadn’t picked up, he made me want to find them.

He would make an excellent English teacher.


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