We often talk about the old-fashioned novel, a genre that has all but disappeared from the lists of quality fiction. What we mean by the term is a storytelling novel, peopled with characters who are quickly established in our minds: No ambiguity exists about what is happening or who is acting or why. The old-fashioned novelist tells us everything he knows about his story, and it is usually enough to satisfy our curiosity. His narrative has a beginning, a middle, and an end that strikes the reader as both inevitable and complete. Old-fashioned fiction is "well-made," to use a term often applied to the plays of the French dramatist Sardou.
Ward Just writes this kind of novel and has apprenticed himself...
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