On Becoming a Novelist

  • by John Gardner
  • Narrated by Anthony Haden Salerno
  • 5 hrs and 52 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On Becoming a Novelist contains the wisdom accumulated during John Gardner's distinguished twenty-year career as a fiction writer and creative writing teacher. With elegance, humor, and sophistication, Gardner describes the life of a working novelist; warns what needs to be guarded against, both from within the writer and from without; and predicts what the writer can reasonably expect and what, in general, he or she cannot. "For a certain kind of person," Gardner writes, "nothing is more joyful or satisfying than the life of a novelist." But no other vocation, he is quick to add, is so fraught with professional and spiritual difficulties. Whether discussing the supposed value of writer's workshops, explaining the role of the novelist's agent and editor, or railing against the seductive fruits of literary elitism, On Becoming a Novelist is an indispensable, life-affirming audiobook for anyone authentically called to the profession.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great book, slightly irritating narration.

Actual text is excellent of course. Narrator had a very irritating voice, but admittedly did a competent job.
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- mahoneko

John Gardner on Becoming John Gardner

What would have made On Becoming a Novelist better?

This book (like its author) is very much the product of one particular epoch in literary fiction. There may be some helpful information for the aspiring author in it, if she is equipped to stomach the author's narrow, sexist, and dated opinions on the nature of good fiction. None of its useful bits are so original, however, that a reader couldn't gather them from Stephen King or Sol Stein's much more palatable books on this subject. Die-hard Gardner fans will appreciate this book, but for anyone looking for advice on how to weather the literary climate of this century, I'd recommend picking something else.

What do you think your next listen will be?

The Other Side of History: Daily Life in the Ancient World.

What about Anthony Haden Salerno’s performance did you like?

Anthony Haden Salerno made this a delightful hate-listen, as the subtle edge in his voice while he read the author's reductive and pretentious diatribes on True Writers Who Suffer and Why Most Fiction is Useless Tripe Written By Cowards made me wonder if the narrator shared my opinion that Gardner was totally that pompous college professor who tries to get into the pants of his clever female students by negging on their short stories.

What character would you cut from On Becoming a Novelist?

John Gardner.

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- Eleanor

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-05-2013
  • Publisher: Audible Studios