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The Art of Time in Fiction

published by Graywolf Press 2009

As a writer whose stories often cover whole lifetimes, Silber has grappled with fiction’s unique task of conveying time. This lively, lucid study looks at how various great writers have decided how much time a story needs to shape its meaning, and the art of convincing a reader that “three decades have passed in the five hours it took to read certain pages.” With examples from world fiction—Gustave Flaubert to Arundhati Roy to Chinua Achebe—the book illuminates work both familiar and new. It is a favorite of writers who teach and has gone into a second printing.