Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Benjamin Percy’s essays on writing are filled with aha moments as thrilling as Toto pulling back the curtain on the Wizard. Citing passages from many sources, he elucidates the subtle principles behind arresting storytelling: the importance of place in fiction, how to use images in writing, why characters should have jobs, and so much more. He examines (and exalts) the writings of Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O’Connor, James Baldwin, Donna Tartt, and Michael Chabon so that we can see behind the curtain to that which makes them the masters they are. Whether this book makes you a better writer or not, it will make you a better reader.

— From Holly


Bold new essays on how to craft a thrilling read--in any genre--from the bestselling author of The Dead Lands

Anyone familiar with the meteoric rise of Benjamin Percy's career will surely have noticed a certain shift: After writing two short-story collections and a literary novel, he delivered the werewolf thriller Red Moon and the postapocalyptic epic The Dead Lands. Now, in his first book of nonfiction, Percy challenges the notion that literary and genre fiction are somehow mutually exclusive. The title essay is an ode to the kinds of books that make many readers fall in love with fiction: science fiction, fantasy, mysteries, horror, from J.R.R. Tolkien to Anne Rice, Ursula K. Le Guin to Stephen King. Percy's own academic experience banished many of these writers in the name of what is "literary" and what is "genre." Then he discovered Michael Chabon, Aimee Bender, Cormac McCarthy, Margaret Atwood, and others who employ techniques of genre fiction while remaining literary writers. In fifteen essays on the craft of fiction, Percy looks to disparate sources such as Jaws, Blood Meridian, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo to discover how contemporary writers engage issues of plot, suspense, momentum, and the speculative, as well as character, setting, and dialogue. An urgent and entertaining missive on craft, Thrill Me brims with Percy's distinctive blend of anecdotes, advice, and close reading, all in the service of one dictum: Thrill the reader.

About the Author

Benjamin Percy is the author of three novels, most recently The Dead Lands, as well as two books of short stories. His honors include an NEA Fellowship, the Whiting Writers' Award, two Pushcart Prizes, and the Plimpton Prize.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781555977597
ISBN-10: 1555977596
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: October 18th, 2016
Pages: 160
Language: English