Just finished that one last night. I’m trying to figure out what to read next right now. Dubliners, maybe?
It was incredibly illuminating, especially the sections where Wood talks about metaphor and simile. But I think the book strays a little bit from its stated purpose–and starts to seem less essential–when he mounts his defense of realistic fiction as the alpha and omega of literature in the very last section. It’s a reminder that while a lot of the techniques Wood discusses are universal to all fiction, he’s still something of a traditionalist and and times his definition of what makes good literature can be unnecessarily limiting.
Still, if you like writing or you’re just an avid reader, this one should probably be at the top of the pile. It will make you write better, and it will deepen your appreciation for great fiction.