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  • Paperback
  • 160
  • The Art of Mystery
  • Maud Casey
  • English
  • 06 May 2018
  • 9781555977948

10 thoughts on “The Art of Mystery

  1. says:

    Maud Casey’s small book about how writers fill their work with mystery is worth reading twice She writes about how other acclaimed writers as well artists in other mediums create works that make people think and ask uestions and ponder what is not on the page or in the art In my opinion the greatest works of art and literature in particular are ones we revisit over and over again and learn something new each time Ms Casey talks about how writers do that and she very much frames the discussion as one that is about great art I love great art love great literature who doesn’t you say Many I say and greatly appreciate the nuanced craft of creation that is reuired to make something great and lasting as opposed to good and fleeting This difference is exactly what Ms Casey speaks to Unfortunately this isn’t a roadmap to creating the ephemeral in art I don’t believe that exists But the author does a good job of showing us how others have created mystery have raised uestions have created a deep subtext in character setting and action If you want to be a better reader or a better writer or both I recommend reading this small book Then read it again if you can


  2. says:

    A new book in Charles Baxter's Art of series Some of these are boring and unmemorable Baxter himself on Subplot and Birkerts on Memoir I think their other books of criticism are worth reading some are really fine Danticat won an award nomination for Art of Death and though I have a few to read Voight on Syntax Bram on History and Castellani on Perspective only one is actually bad Dean Young's Art of Recklessness was a bewildering mess I enjoyed Casey's small case studysurvey of mystery in fiction mystery not as in the genre but in the sense of the ineffable uncanny and though she didn't cite it the third sort of mystery in James Meek's uote on my GR home page She does a lot of plot summation here but it's for the larger purpose and she made me want to read Barbara Comyns The Vet's Daughter Kosztolanyi's Skylark and Paul Yoon's Snow Hunters as well as her own fiction eg The Man Who Went Away Recently in a local book group I said something about the structure of a novel we were reading and a new member remarked whoah you really don't read the way I do That's just a result of reading books like this


  3. says:

    The Art of series from Graywolf Press are among my very favorite craft books and I was keen to read what Maud Casey has to say about the Art of Mystery The subtitle lets the reader know right away that this isn't a book about writing genre mysteries It is a book about searching in the dark through fiction It's a craft book about to uote Maud Casey's mother writer Jane Barnes inchoate reaching in heartfelt darkness Isn't that lovely? I've highlighted enough passages too many probably to give you an idea of the tone of The Art of Mystery If you're a writer read it If you're a reader read it I think you'll find your time was well invested


  4. says:

    I attended a session earlier this year during which Casey presented a lot of the general ideas she covers in this book Important note The title could be misleading If you are writing mysteries and looking for advice specific to that genre this book is not really for you It's about the idea of going somewhere unexpected embarking on a journey in writing and in reading not knowing uite where you will end up or if you will end up anywhere specific It's about willingly surrendering to possibility and using the tools at your disposal as a writer to reveal or to begin to get at through details and descriptions that which cannot be explained The book is practical but not in a step by step prescriptive way It's about creating and experiencing a feeling of exploration and revelation for character author and readerAt times the book drifts into almost supernatural territory which is less interesting to me but the idea of writing towards meaningful uestions is a great one and much of the book is thought provoking for writers


  5. says:

    Another in Graywolf’s the Art of series that I’ve read My favorite so far remains James Longenbach’s The Art of the Poetic Line At least Longenbach’s book is the one that stuck with meThe Art of Mystery at first made me think of mystery as in detective fiction That’s not what this is about It’s about the mysterious in any narrative — where the text leaps into the Land of Un uncertainty unknowing unfathomability She does this by looking at how this plays out in character and imagery along with discussions of works by Flannery O’Connor James Baldwin and Paul Yoon among others One of the benefits of a book like this is it adds to one’s reading list She got me to read Yoon’s The Snow Hunters


  6. says:

    Read this in preparation for a writing workshop The only other book in the series I’ve read is THE ART OF TIME IN FICTION by Joan Silber Not sure how I feel about the series in general—I appreciate the concept but they might work better as essay collections from a range of different writers on a given concept or topic


  7. says:

    This is a beautifully written book but I was hoping for techniues for writing in the mystery genreMaud Casey is a spell binding writer who really cares about the craft That's all clear from this engaging essay about mystery in literature She does a great job describing how to tap into that feeling of mystery showing the audience what they don't know about the story the world and the characters The examples she draws upon are powerful and beautiful and she does them great honor by conjuring up their spectral ualitiesThat stuff was all very useful and fun to read but I don't think I learned anything about writing a mystery plot Clues and red herrings misdirection and the process of getting characters to uncover the truth of the matter none of this was in the book If this was really about The Art of Mystery then I think she missed the bulk of the discussionThe book is pretty expensive for its size 1850 CDN for less than 40000 words and that would have been worth it if this talked about the techniue for writing mystery stories but that didn't happen This should have been called The Feeling and Meaning of Mystery in LiteratureThis makes me want to read Maud Casey's novels but it hasn't taught me much about writing mystery stories


  8. says:

    This is not a discussion of the literary genre known as mysteries but rather a discussion of the aspect of fiction that puts the reader in a position of contemplating things inexpressible There is absolutely everything in great fiction but a clear answer as Eudora Welty famously remarkedI felt that Ms Casey did a fine job in the opening chapters of describing to us what she meant by mystery and why its evocation can be so wonderful and haunting in fiction If she could have sustained that discussion and that tone I'd have liked the whole book much better But all too soon she was reduced to giving us examples consisting of lengthy plot descriptions spoilers in other words of works exemplifying the virtues of mystery in fiction I went along with the first couple authors I'd never heard of but my resistance to being told plots kicked in pretty soon and though I turned the pages I had to skip most of the second half of the book


  9. says:

    Casey writes about the nature of the inexplicable the unanswerable uestions with a tongue in cheek tone At times I felt I was being taken through a fun house a realm to which she refers as Un where we are undone And I enjoyed the trip and don't doubt the difficulty of guiding such a trip However I became less enchanted where I feel Casey did not adeuately back up these bold declarations with respect to first person interiority There is nothing to see Or the unparaphrasable content of fiction is first and foremost a visceral experience I enjoyed her examples from literature though their backstories at times are so complete I have less desire to read them I think she achieves her best balance describing the mystery evoked by visual artists in their works such as those by photographer Vivian Maier and by painter Andrew Wyeth


  10. says:

    Interesting premise how mystery works in stories even stories that aren't true mysteries The book annoyed me because Casey made the various writers ventrilouists for her own opinions If she had given her analysis of the various stories the book is rich with them as HER thoughts I would have been fine with it Instead she said here the author is saying or doingOn the other hand the list of books that she analyses is wide ranging from Henry James Eudora Welty James Baldwin right up to Allison Bechdel and Steven Millhauser This was the first of the Grey Wolf Series I'd picked up It's on to The Art of Subtext by Charles Baxter Stay tuned


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The Art of Mystery

Maud Casey ´ 7 Summary

A sensitive and nuanced exploration of a seldom discussed subject by an acclaimed novelistThe 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. A new book in Charles Baxter's Art of series Some of these are boring and unmemorable Baxter himself on Subplot and Birkerts on Memoir I think their other books of criticism are worth reading some are really fine Danticat won an award nomination for Art of Death and though I have a few to read Voight on Syntax Bram on History and Castellani on Perspective only one is actually bad Dean Young's Art of Recklessness was a bewildering mess I enjoyed Casey's small case studysurvey of mystery in fiction mystery not as in the genre but in the sense of the ineffable uncanny and though she didn't cite it the third sort of mystery in James Meek's uote on my GR home page She does a lot of plot summation here but it's for the larger purpose and she made me want to read Barbara Comyns The Vet's Daughter Kosztolanyi's Skylark and Paul Yoon's Snow Hunters as well as her own fiction eg The Man Who Went Away Recently in a local book group I said something about the structure of a novel we were reading and a new member remarked whoah you really don't read the way I do That's just a result of reading books like this

Download ´ eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ´ Maud Casey

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 uestion 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 cha. Read this in preparation for a writing workshop The only other book in the series I’ve read is THE ART OF TIME IN FICTION by Joan Silber Not sure how I feel about the series in general—I appreciate the concept but they might work better as essay collections from a range of different writers on a given concept or topic

Characters The Art of Mystery

Racter image structure and haunted texts including the novels of Shirley Jackson Paul Yoon J M Coetzee and Casey’s wide ranging discussion encompasses spirit photography the radical nature of empathy and contradictory characters as she searches for uestions rather than answers The Art of Mystery is a striking and vibrant addition to the much loved Art of serie. This is a beautifully written book but I was hoping for techniues for writing in the mystery genreMaud Casey is a spell binding writer who really cares about the craft That's all clear from this engaging essay about mystery in literature She does a great job describing how to tap into that feeling of mystery showing the audience what they don't know about the story the world and the characters The examples she draws upon are powerful and beautiful and she does them great honor by conjuring up their spectral ualitiesThat stuff was all very useful and fun to read but I don't think I learned anything about writing a mystery plot Clues and red herrings misdirection and the process of getting characters to uncover the truth of the matter none of this was in the book If this was really about The Art of Mystery then I think she missed the bulk of the discussionThe book is pretty expensive for its size 1850 CDN for less than 40000 words and that would have been worth it if this talked about the techniue for writing mystery stories but that didn't happen This should have been called The Feeling and Meaning of Mystery in LiteratureThis makes me want to read Maud Casey's novels but it hasn't taught me much about writing mystery stories


About the Author: Maud Casey

Maud Casey lives in Washington DC She is an Associate Professor of English and teaches in the MFA Creative Writing Program at the University of Maryland She also teaches in the low residency MFA Program at Warren Wilson and was a faculty member at the Breadloaf Writers Conference in 2009 She has received the Italo Calvino Prize 2008 the St Francis College Literary Prize a Guggenheim Fell