Available January 2018 from Graywolf Press
The fourteenth volume in the Art of series conjures an ethereal subject: the idea of mystery in fiction. Mystery is not often discussed—apart from the genre—because, as Maud Casey says, "It's not easy to talk about something that is a whispered invitation, a siren song, a flickering light in the distance." Casey, author of several critically-acclaimed novels, reaches beyond the usual toolkit of fictional elements to ask the question: Where does mystery reside in a work of fiction? Casey takes us into the Land of Un—a space of uncertainty and unknowing—to find out. She looks at the variety of ways mystery is created—through character, image, structure, and haunted texts, including the novels of Shirley Jackson, Paul Yoon, J.M. Coetzee, and more. Casey's wide-ranging discussion encompasses spirit photography, the radical nature of empathy, and contradictory characters, as she searches for questions rather than answers. The Art of Mystery is a striking and vibrant addition to the much-beloved Art of series.
"In the 14th volume of Graywolf's The Art Of series, novelist Casey (The Man Who Walked Away) analyzes the inscrutable and enigmatic elements in the work of James Baldwin, Shirley Jackson, Henry James, and others. Casey applies the term 'mystery' broadly (and astutely), describing it as 'a whispered invitation, a siren song, a flickering light in the distance.' ...Those seeking to understand how to bring the ineffable into their own writing would do well to start here." Publishers Weekly