Unless It Moves the Human Heart Summary and Reviews

Unless It Moves the Human Heart

The Craft and Art of Writing

by Roger Rosenblatt

Unless It Moves the Human Heart by Roger Rosenblatt
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2011
    176 pages
    Genre: Advice

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Book Summary

For more than forty years, distinguished author Roger Rosenblatt has also been a teacher of writing, guiding students with the same intelligence and generosity he brings to the page, answering the difficult questions about what makes a story good, an essay shapely, a novel successful, and the most profound and essential question of them all—why write?

Unless It Moves the Human Heart details one semester in Rosenblatt's "Writing Everything" class. In a series of funny, intimate conversations, a diverse group of students - from Inur, a young woman whose family is from Pakistan, to Sven, an ex–fighter pilot - grapples with the questions and subjects most important to narrative craft. Delving into their varied lives, Rosenblatt brings readers closer to them, emotionally investing us in their failures and triumphs.

More than a how-to for writers and aspiring writers, more than a memoir of teaching, Unless It Moves the Human Heart is a deeply felt and impassioned plea for the necessity of writing in our lives. As Rosenblatt wisely reminds us, "Writing is the cure for the disease of living. Doing it may sometimes feel like an escape from the world, but at its best moments it is an act of rescue."

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Media Reviews

"The informal and succinct format makes [Unless It Moves the Human Heart] a fast read but not a simple one...an artful take on the writing life." - Library Journal

"Less a how-to book than a measured reflection on teaching, [Unless It Moves the Human Heart] nonetheless offers aspiring writers many concrete suggestions...And the oft-invoked words of other authors should resonate with readers and writers alike." - Publishers Weekly

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Author Information

Roger Rosenblatt Author Biography

Roger Rosenblatt's contributions to Time and PBS have won two George Polk Awards, a Peabody Award, and an Emmy Award. He is the author of five Off-Broadway plays and several books, including the national bestseller Rules for Aging and Children of War, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Lapham Rising, also a national bestseller, was his first novel.

He teaches English and Writing at Stony Brook University.

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