Frederick Busch, one of America’s most distinguished novelists, has had an enduring love affair with great books and with the difficult, and sometimes personally dangerous, work that is required to produce them. For Busch, as he writes of his own career and those of his great elders, Dickens, Melville, Hemingway, and others, there was to be no other recourse save the dangerous profession. Writing out of an experience of risk that is suffused with affection, Busch brilliantly explores the hazards of the writing life and its effect on the achievement of benchmark writers.
Frederick Busch (1941–2006) received the PEN/Malamud Award in short fiction, and, from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Award of Merit. His books were finalists for the PEN/Faulkner and National Book Critics Circle Awards.
"Read this book if you are a beginning writer who wants the assurance that others, too, have written, submitted, and been rejected over and over again. Read it if you are an established writer and want to see the continuing doubt and despair of those who have produced great books." —The New York Times Book Review
"Animated ruminations on the risks and rewards of writing. . . . By conveying with passion and insight why a literary work moves him, Busch excites the reader to read or reread books that have long gone stale in our imaginations. Writing and reading are reunited by an author who shows himself to be a sharp reader, too." —Kirkus Reviews
"Few literary aficionados are better qualified than Busch to write about the writing life. . . . Busch knows fiction inside and out, both as a perceptive reader and a versatile writer, and he forges a powerful philosophy of literature over the course of sixteen vibrant essays." —Booklist
"Think of a more cerebral version of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and you’ll have some notion of this valuable hybrid, which combines heartfelt memoir with an ardent love of literature." —Publishers Weekly