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Book Title

The Art of Mystery

The Search for Questions
Author 1
Maud Casey
The fourteenth volume in the Art of series conjures an ethereal subject: the idea of mystery in fiction. Mystery is not often discussed—apart from the genre—because, as Maud Casey says, “It’s not easy to talk about something that is a whispered invitation, a siren song, a flickering light in the distance.” Casey, the author of several critically acclaimed novels, reaches beyond the usual tool kit of fictional elements to ask the question: Where does mystery reside in a work of fiction? She takes us into the Land of Un—a space of uncertainty and unknowing—to find out and looks at the variety of ways mystery is created through character, image, structure, and haunted texts, including the novels of Shirley Jackson, Paul Yoon, J. M. Coetzee, and others. Casey’s wide-ranging discussion encompasses spirit photography, the radical nature of empathy, and contradictory characters, as she searches for questions rather than answers. The Art of Mystery is a striking and vibrant addition to the much-loved Art of series.


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A sensitive and nuanced exploration of a seldom-discussed subject by an acclaimed novelist

About the Author

Maud  Casey
Credit: Zach Veilleux
Maud Casey is the author of three novels, most recently The Man Who Walked Away, and a story collection, Drastic. She is the grateful recipient of the St. Francis College Literary Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She teaches at the University of Maryland and lives in Washington, DC.
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  • “[The Art of Mystery] delves concretely and satisfyingly into the complex pleasures this particular literary climate has to offer.”Pasatiempo
  • “Books on writing should . . . remind writers—and readers—why we fell in love with stories in the first place. The Art of Mystery does just this.”The Gazette (Cedar Rapids)
  • “A rich survey looking beyond the usual academic treatment, for writers and readers alike.”Library Journal, starred review
  • “This slim but astute volume is an inducement both to read more deeply and to head for ever more unchartered, frozen, mysterious waters.”Kirkus Reviews
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