The Situation and the Story

The Situation and the Story

The Art of Personal Narrative

Book - 2002
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Includes discussion questions
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2002
Edition: New ed. for writers, teachers, and students, 1st pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780374528584
Characteristics: 174 p. ; 20 cm


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Aug 05, 2018

Probably the best book on how to write and how to read narrative non-fiction. It's better than any class, deeper and more illustrative than other books on the subject, and clear, interesting, and you can't help but find yourself quoting from it in random conversations.

The situation isn't the story - this is the first big insight. There's who is speaking and what is being said, and the relation between the two. What is driving the writer? Not the situation. The story isn't that the writer found herself in some horrible marriage or disastrous situation. That's, again, the situation. What does the narrator do with this situation? Who is the narrator and why is she speaking? As V.S. Pritchett is quoted, "It's all in the art. You get no credit for living."

And this book is art, learning to understand and, if it is your motive, learning to do it well.


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