Additional Book Information

Series: New York Review Books
ISBN: 9781681376639
Pages: 176
Publication Date: October 18, 2022

Seduced by StoryThe Use and Abuse of Narrative

by Peter Brooks

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“There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story. Nothing can stop it. Nothing can defeat it.” So begins the scholar and literary critic Peter Brooks’s reckoning with today’s flourishing cult of story. Forty years after publishing his seminal work Reading for the Plot, his important contribution to what came to be known as the “narrative turn” in contemporary criticism and philosophy, Brooks returns to question the unquestioning fashion in which story is now embraced as an excuse or explanation and the fact that every brand or politician comes equipped with one. In a discussion that ranges from The Girl on the Train to legal argument, Brooks reminds us that among the powers of narrative is the power to deceive.

Praise

A rhapsody to the partial suspension of disbelief that allows us to immerse ourselves in novels, but simultaneously and most crucially, a brilliant intervention against the complete suspension of disbelief that allows a citizenry to succumb to conspiracy theories, false-flag narratives, authoritarian fictions. An eloquent and triumphant culmination of Peter Brooks’s lifelong inquiry into the aesthetic and ethical intersection of literature, psychoanalysis, law, and politics. Impossibly good.
—David Shields

Stories are everywhere—shaping us, shocking us, showing us what really happened (or making it up). Peter Brooks invites us to step to one side of our over-storied surroundings to think about all the ways they work. . . . In the process, he tells a gripping tale of his own.
—Rachel Bowlby

This is an amazing book, crossing back and forth between literature and politics, illuminating each side by the other. It is written without fuss, continually evocative and surprising.
—Richard Sennett