Paperback original. The Book of Other People is about character. Twenty-five or so outstanding writers have been asked by Zadie Smith to make up a fictional character. By any measure, creating character is at the heart of the fictional enterprise, and this book concentrates on writers who share a talent for making something recognizably human out of words (and, in the case of the graphic novelists, pictures). But the purpose of the book is variety: straight realismif such a thing existsis not the point. There are as many ways to create character as there are writers, and this anthology features a rich assortment of exceptional examples.
Writers include: Aleksandar Hemon, Nick Hornby, Hari Kunzru, Toby Litt, David Mitchell, George Saunders, Colm Tóibín and Chris Ware
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"Taking the collection as a whole, the short story - its future frequently worried over in the face of diminishing sales and commercial pressure - looks to be in healthy form." - The Observer.
"So what can we conclude after The Book of Other People? That Chekhov's influence on the short story is still paramount. That "hysterical realism", the tendency in contemporary fiction so accurately diagnosed by critic James Wood in 2001 symptoms include fact fetishism, list making, digressive mini-essays has mercifully given way to something more intelligent and true. Last, that fiction rarely awards first prize to youth. The standout story here is the beautiful "Donal Webster" ... It's by Colm Tóibí, who at 52 is the oldest writer between these covers, and would alone make this collection worthwhile." - The Guardian.
"Of all contemporary pastimes, charity offers the best excuse for fooling about. Without charity there would be no bathing in cold custard, no public displays of depilation and no outlet for tombola. Nobody would ever have entered a shipping lane clad only in Speedos and goosefat. And there would be no charity anthologies, which may not be a bad thing except that occasionally, as with this book, the carnival misrule of the format produces something novel and touching and fun." - The Times.
"Starred Review. With so much to savorthe sensuality of Adam Thirlwells Nigora, the knowingness of George Saunders Puppythis anthology will sate even the most famished short story fan." - Publishers Weekly.
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Zadie Smith was born in north-west London in 1975, and has lived there most of her life. She is the author of White Teeth, The Autograph Man, On Beauty, NW, Embassy of Cambodia, one book of essays Changing My Mind, and editor of one anthology The Book of Other People.
White Teeth was her first novel and awarded the Guardian First Book Award, the Whitbread Prize for a first novel, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction, the Frankfurt eBook Award for Best Fiction Work and the Overall Commonwealth Writers Prize, among others. On Beauty was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize 2005 and won The Orange Prize for Fiction 2006. She was previously a writer-in-residence at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts and a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.
Zadie Smith (editor): zay-dee
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