For anyone who has ever identified with a character from fiction, been seduced by a first sentence or been profoundly moved by a story's end, How to Write Like Tolstoy is a wonderful and illuminating journey into the minds and imaginations of the world's greatest writers. What made Nabokov choose the name Lolita? Why did Fitzgerald tell The Great Gatsby in the first person? How did Kerouac, who raged against revision, finally come to revise On the Road? Why did Martin Amis give up on writing about sex? Veteran editor Richard Cohen draws on a vast and eclectic reservoir of knowledge to reveal what makes good prose soar. From plot and character development to dialogue and point of view, the motivations, obsessions, tricks and talents of a host of great novelists are brought to the fore, their published works mined and private beliefs unearthed. There's the nature of originality as plagiarism is discussed, and a weighing of the odds when trying to write about physical intimacies. And how to begin...Or end?
From first page to last, How to Write Like Tolstoy is a unique exploration of the act and art of writing, one which enriches our experience of reading both the classics and the best modern fiction, and provokes in us an overwhelming urge to read and to write.
Richard Cohen is the former publishing director of Hutchinson and Hodder & Stoughton and the founder of Richard Cohen Books. A five-time national sabre champion, he has represented Britain in fencing at four Olympics. The author of Chasing the Sun and By the Sword, he lives in New York.