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By Tom Nuttall  

Tom Chatfield

This week, I’ve been reading an advance copy of James Wood’s How Fiction Works. Considering his stature, Wood has produced a pleasingly self-effacing volume: a civilised, intelligent book about the intimate processes of fiction. It’s a patient, lovingly nuanced study of beloved books, and one whose faith in the permanence of great art sits in strange tension—as its author knows only too well—with the void he has termed elsewhere, “the public space that might have been”: the realm in which it is normal and important to talk about literature as though it mattered, and as though aesthetic and…

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