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The Art of Time in Fiction

As Long as It Takes
Joan Silber
Fiction imagines for us a stopping point from which life can be seen as intelligible,” asserts Joan Silber in The Art of Time in Fiction. The end point of a story determines its meaning, and one of the main tasks a writer faces is to define the duration of a plot. Silber uses wide-ranging examples from F. Scott Fitzgerald, Chinua Achebe, and Arundhati Roy, among others, to illustrate five key ways in which time unfolds in fiction. In clear-eyed prose, Silber elucidates a tricky but vital aspect of the art of fiction.

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Joan Silber elucidates ways that fiction approaches chronology, change, duration, and plot

About the Author

Joan  Silber
Credit: Barry Goldstein

Joan Silber is the author of The Art of Time in Fiction and six books of fiction, including The Size of the World and Ideas of Heaven, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City.

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  • "Highly recommended for aspiring authors, and an invaluable reference for experienced writers as well."—The Midwest Book Review
  • “Silber’s writing has a clean, brisk authority that doesn’t linger to congratulate itself over either its insight or its wonderful details. “Time is moving,’ [her] stories seem to say, ‘so let’s get on with it while we still can.’”—The Believer
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