There remains at work - in both Britain and America - a group of
literary journalists and academics committed to the evaluative criticism
of fiction, to a criticism that approaches novels as novels.
The Good of the Novel
is a collection of specially commissioned essays - edited by Ray Ryan
and LIam McIlvanney - on the contemporary Anglophone novel. Bringing
together some of the most strenuous and perceptive critics of the
present moment and putting them in contact with some of the finest
novels of the past three decades, it examines what the novel does and what
kinds of truth the novel can tell. What is it that the novel knows? What
is it about the language used in a novel that creates a world different
from that of drama or poetry? And how does a particular novel emplify
These questions can be answered by the careful examination
of particular great works by strong evaluative critics. Robert
Macfarlane on Hollinghurst's The Line of Beauty; Tessa Hadley examining Coetzee's Disgrace; and Ian Sansom on Roth's American Pastoral - just some of the essays that are to be found in this insightful, intelligent and illuminating book.
Liam McIlvanney was born in Ayrshire. He is the author of Burns the Radical and All the Colours of the Town. He lives in Dunedin with his wife and four sons.