Novelist, critic, lecturer, reviewer, man-about-conferences, David Lodge, as both analyst and practitioner, is one of our foremost experts in the forms of fiction. He is also an uncommonly sympathetic and informed observer of the passing scene, and his penetrating vision is set in a consistently ironic frame. David Lodge's humour can be a devastating weapon, but it is continually engaging because as often as not the sniper's sights are trained on the author himself, and on the curiously mobile, cosmopolitan yet specialist world he inhabits.
The essays and reviews collected in this volume are selected from the occasional writings over a span of twenty years, and are all prompted by an impulse - or an invitation - to "write on" some specific topic: a book, a film, an anniversary, a trip abroad. They also reflect the drive of the professional to keep writing, "to keep the muscles of composition exercised."
The pieces collected here are designed for a wide audience, and most focus, in more or less direct ways, on Lodge's own work as a novelist. Enthusiasts will take especial pleasure in discovering sources for episodes from his novels, in tracing how reality mutates into fiction - or how on occasion, the process works the other way round.