How To Draw a Novel

Grove. Dec. 2023. 224p. ISBN 9780802159304. $20. LIT
Award-winning Mexican novelist, editor, and critic Solares’s (Don’t Send Flowers) inspired yet curious work is presented as a craft book for writers and would-be writers, and it should be of great value to anyone concerned about the art of writing. It is also a book for readers. Solares serves up insights so lucid and original they feel startling, covering characters such as Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, Tom Sawyer, and Captain Nemo, and authors including Kipling, Proust, Melville, and even Stanislavski. In particular, Solares’s analysis of the supposedly haphazard structure of Moby Dick will leave readers breathless. There are drawings, charming doodles that depict the structure and shape of the novels Solares discusses and form their own kind of visual digression. For readers looking to diversify their collections, he introduces a library’s worth of Latin and South American writers. This book does not always seem as intent on accuracy as it is on passion and memory, but Solares’s passion is his genius, and his encyclopedic memory is his palette.
VERDICT Most reminiscent of William Carlos Williams’s In the American Grain or Charles Olson’s Call Me Ishmael, Solares’s book feels fresh and vital, unencumbered by rectitude or solemnity, proposing and digressing with abandon, because, as he reminds readers, in the end, the digressions are the point.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing