How Fiction Works
is a fascinating theoretical book that should be read by anyone interesting in literature, linguistics and the foundations underlying creative writing itself. James Wood draws references from many different books and breaks everything down to varying levels of analysis to have a look at what makes fiction fiction.
Wood's most interesting aspect of his book is how he breaks everything down into different levels and aspects. What I mean by this is that he has chapters on each important thing that is unique to fiction or plays a highly important part. Narration, narrative, detail, characters, consciousness, language and even realism are all woven into a kind of patchwork. There is no real conclusion to his book it's more a kind of theoretical analysis of what goes on in books. And it's all incredibly fascinating.
There are some sections which are cruder than others, by which I mean rougher and less polished, but on the whole it's very well written. I found the whole aspect of Wood's writing about free indirect style, author's choices in novels and how language can take on a life of its own fascinating. I fully recommend this book for a look at the theory of fiction and to provide readers a way of looking at writer's choices in a different light.