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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Getting the readers 'into the game'


“I write in expectation that readers want to participate in a kind of two-sided game: They are trying to guess what I am up to - what the story's up to - and I'm giving them clues and matter to keep them interested without giving everything away at the start. Even the rules, if any, of the game are for the reader to discover.” – John Crowley

Born in Maine on this date in 1942, Crowley went to high school and college in Indiana before moving to New York City “to make movies,” starting his career in documentary films, an occupation he still pursues.   In 1975, his first novel The Deep established him in the science fiction and fantasy field and he still writes in those genres, although he also has done well in fiction, and with his frequent essays.  And, he's been a longtime creative writing professor at Yale University.
His best-known book is Little, Big, winner of the              
 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel.  The book melds the story of a New York family with a “fairy world” community over a hundred-year period and is a terrific study in family dynamics and compassion.  It’s been called “The best fantasy book ever” by one critic, and “The closest achievement we have to the Alice stories of Lewis Carroll" by another.  In 2006 – both in recognition of books like Little, Big and for his many other novels and short stories – Crowley was presented with the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement.

“I've always had a compassion for characters in novels,” Crowley noted.  “ - The sense that they are, whatever they might think, living in a world that has a shape they don't know and can't finally alter.”

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