January 27, 2015

Publishing: A Writer's Memoir - Gail Godwin

Publishing book cover
Publishing: A Writer's Memoir by Gail Godwin
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks!) || Hardcover
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the opinions in my review.]

Publishing is a personal story of a writer's hunger to be published, the pursuit of that goal, and then the long haul--for Gail Godwin, forty-five years of being a published writer and all that goes with it.Recollecting her long and storied career, Godwin maps the publishing industry over the last fifty years, a time of great upheaval and ingenuity. Her eloquent memoir is illuminated by Frances Halsband's evocative black-and-white line drawings throughout.

Let me preface my thoughts with two facts: 

1) I have yet to read a novel by Gail Godwin.
2) Nonetheless, I wanted to read about her experience as a published writer.

Publishing is a non-fiction novel where Godwin highlights the start, the ups and the downs of her prolific writing career. The chapters are not necessarily chronological, which was unexpected. But since they are dutifully titled, and include references to the time period/novels/publishers involved in the subtitle, it was less confusing than one might think. 

Personally, I found her style of narration very candid. She named names, talked about the troubles she faced and the highs of her career in equal measure. It was undoubtedly an eye-opener when it came to viewing the publishing industry, as Publishing is a novel where Godwin tells it how it is. While delivery was a little dry, it was still fascinating to read about all of the things Godwin has experienced so far. 

Godwin has graced us with her anecdotes, feelings included, and it’s downright compelling at certain points. Still, Publishing is not the type of memoir I would easily recommend, though it certainly has its merits. It would be the type of read I’d suggest to fellow writers, or those with an interest in publishing, or perhaps fans of Ms. Godwin herself.


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