Reading, Writing, and Leaving Home: Life on the Page Review
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In Reading, Writing, and Leaving Home: Life on the Page, Freed presents a remarkably insightful—at times dark, at times humorous—perspective on the craft of writing and how it’s influenced by and, more importantly, influences the life of both writer and audience. Author of five novels as well as The Curse of the Appropriate Man, a collection of short stories that was named a notable book by the New York Times, Lynn Freed was born into a family of actors and raised in South Africa. Her lifelong passion for world travel led her to acquire several teaching jobs around the globe and blessed her with an exotic, wise, and eloquent voice.

At first I found myself unnerved by her assertion that good writing must be a pursuit of revenge and her insistence that, if done well, “someone will be hurt.” That is, until I slept on it and realized that, in many instances, she’s right. After all, to convey the human condition with true honesty, things are bound to get a little ugly.

Peppered with magnificent quotes from the likes of Proust, Auden and Wilde, this inspiring book covers everything from false starts and writer’s block to the struggle to find the voice necessary to relate the individual story.

“Whether he works with or against the natural iambic metre of the English language, the writer must be in love with language, with the words themselves, the sound of the words on the page, the music they make in meaning.”

Of the many pearls of wisdom here, my favorite is this: “…nothing seems to make a writer stupider than thinking. Rational intelligence has little bearing on fictional intelligence; it can make one forget the contradictions inherent in life, the constancy only of surprise.”

Reading, Writing, and Leaving Home is packed with incredible wisdom and surely destined to become a classic. If you’re a writer or even a reader that wants to understand the craft better, this book is an absolute must-have.

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