The Situation And The Story: The Art Of Personal Narrative
  • The Situation And The Story: The Art Of Personal Narrative
  • The Situation And The Story: The Art Of Personal Narrative
  • The Situation And The Story: The Art Of Personal Narrative
  • The Situation And The Story: The Art Of Personal Narrative
ISBN: 0374528586
EAN13: 9780374528584
Language: English
Release Date: Oct 11, 2002
Pages: 192
Dimensions: 0.6" H x 7.8" L x 5.2" W
Weight: 0.3 lbs.
Format: Paperback
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Book Overview

This Description may be from another edition of this product.

A guide to the art of personal writing, by the author of Fierce Attachments and The End of the Novel of Love.

All narrative writing must pull from the raw material of life a tale that will shape experience, transform event, deliver a bit of wisdom. In a story or a novel the I who tells this tale can be, and often is, an unreliable narrator but in nonfiction the reader must always be persuaded that the narrator is speaking truth.

How does one pull from one's own boring, agitated self the truth-speaker who will tell the story a personal narrative needs to tell? That is the question The Situation and the Story asks - and answers. Taking us on a reading tour of some of the best memoirs and essays of the past hundred years, Gornick traces the changing idea of self that has dominated the century, and demonstrates the enduring truth-speaker to be found in the work of writers as diverse as Edmund Gosse, Joan Didion, Oscar Wilde, James Baldwin, or Marguerite Duras.

This book, which grew out of 15 years teaching in MFA programs, is itself a model of the lucid intelligence that has made Gornick one of our most admired writers of nonfiction. In it, she teaches us to write by teaching us how to read: how to recognize truth when we hear it in the writing of others and in our own.

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Book Reviews (9)

5
  |   9  reviews
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5
   Voice rings clear
If you are interested in the writing process, this is a good book. I am not sure I always agree with her assessments of various writers--Oscar Wilde for example -- but Gornick is thoughtful and probing.
 
4
   while fine, did little for me
There is the situation, and there is the story, and if you can figure out the basics behind that seemingly innocuous statement, you can figure out how to become a very effective memoir writer. Only about half of this book is about memoir writing, and I received it specifically for this part. I would recommend this book to everyone.
 
4
   A classic but slippery
Gornick's obsession is persona, the truth-seeking and truth-speaking narrator, and how this partial, constructed self relates to the story told. If you are a writer who says you should do what she says, Ditto is. But it is fascinating.
 
4
   Cogent and insightful
I bought this book because Vivian Gornick is an excellent non-fiction writer. '' How the essay and memoir are personal and experiential forms of cogent and insightful. I highly recommend this book as one of several that can educate writers on how to write different pieces.
 
5
   but this is one of the best I've ever read for personal essay and memoir
I have read many books on writing, but this is one of the best I ever read for my personal essay and memoir. Gornick really gets to the heart of what we need to write from personal experience. It will make you go back and look at your writing again and see where you missed or where you succeeded. It is highly recommended.
 
5
   A writers book of immense value
For the first time, I had the feeling that Ms Gornick wrote it just for me. So many books about writing only talk about the writer's experiences, but this one explores the genre of memoir, writing like a doctor at an autopsy. What she writes gave me so many moments where I said to myself, yes, that is exactly it. And sometimes she writes things that explain a situation that I had not thought about and seeing it in print gave me that rare gift of true enlightenment.
 
3
   This was published in 2001?
Though there were gems of knowledge scattered throughout the book, the book lacked cohesive, overall analysis in the last section. There was the chance to compare all the works and include a litany of Takeaways, but the last section was short rather than long. I just don 't understand how the book was published in 2001, that made different choices in that regard.
 
5
   Love this book! Great style.
Well, life is busy, but I read the book and said, I have time to read a story. It began so smoothly, like the beginning of the movie To Kill a Mockingbird '' and Scout Finch starts talking. She draws you in just and connects her life to hers. I read the story about He and I and I can 't wait to read more. It is now with me at work and I wish I could go off in a corner and read. Besides being enchanted by the stories, I am sure I learn something useful from Vivian Gornick's book.
 
4
   Like teaching a child how to peel a potato, at first you guide their hands...
You are my muse, and from here it begins. All students need mentor texts, pieces of writing that can be entered again and again for different purposes, even adult writers. Especially adult writers, because we come with a litany of bad habits, muddled notions of how the story should be told and distorted ideas about its situation, or what we gleaned from the experience of removing ourselves from the intimacy of that moment in time. Enter the stage right SITUATION AND THE STORY '', a seminole guide to the blind memoirist who is looking for a way out or in, as it were. .
 
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