A collection of inspiring letters from some of our most renowned and respected fiction writers on the craft of writing and the writing life.
Thirty years ago, at the very outset of his career, Busch (now the author of 22 books, most recently The Night Inspector) received a cruel rejection letter. It read, in its entirety, "Dear Mr. Busch: If only you wrote fiction as well as you write letters of inquiry." This collection--inspired by Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet--begins with Busch's own angry, if amusing, response to that zinger. So passionate is Busch that one suspects his entire subsequent career has been a triumphant rebuttal to that letter. The collection he has assembled here is, as a whole, more measured and less inspired, with a few exceptions. Janet Burroway's contribution, "Re: Envy" is a devastatingly honest account of the place of the green-eyed monster in a writer's life; Andre Dubus achieves a generous tone and offers unbeatable advice: "I believe all good stories will finally be published. Yours will too, if you keep mailing them." The contributions are wildly uneven, and those by the biggest names are often the least useful. Carver, Bradbury, and Malcolm Cowley are represented by personal letters too specific to have a place here. Missives from Ann Beattie, Rosellen Brown and several others ooze bitterness about would-be authors who assume that writing fiction takes nothing more than finding some spare time. Megan Staffel makes a similar point without the sour tone: "writing fiction requires the same kind of struggles that doing anything new requires. You wouldn't expect someone to be able to waterski without falling down on their first try." (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.