Saturday, November 19, 2011

All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost, by Lan Samantha Chang

Rarely do I finish a novel and start to read it all over again, but that's what happened with All is Forgotten, Nothing is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang. It wasn't just that I was sorry the book was over, but that I was so engaged with the story, the characters, the narrative arc, that I wanted to experience it all over again.

And it is about writers. A real book about writers, instead of all the phony books and movies about writers. The author is Samantha Chang, who is the author of two previous books: Hunger and Inheritance, and the director of the Iowa Writers Workshop. I took a workshop at Stanford from her on the novel, and she was an excellent teacher.

This is a novel I will be thinking about for a long time. Sometimes when I read a particularly good book I feel intimidated. Not this time. Reading Sam Chang's novel makes me want to work on my own novel, makes me understand how wonderful the novel can be, shows me once again why writing is worthwhile.