“The problem with this book: too many irresistible things.” James Salter, author of A Sport and a Pastime

“All great criticism begins with love.  After all, we read books not from obligation but for pleasure, for mental excitement, for what A.E. Housman called the tingle at the back of the neck.  In The Story About the Story there are no merely literary essays: Instead J.C. Hallman has gathered love letters, exuberant appreciations, confessions of envy and admiration.  In these pages some of our finest writers stand up and testify to the power of literature to shake and shape our very souls.” Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic and author of Bound to Please and Classics for Pleasure

“An invaluable guide for any reader of literature, as well as for the practitioners themselves.  Reading Lawrence on Melville, Heaney on Eliot, Milosz on Frost and Camus on Melville will reveal the nut of the art.” Daniel Halpern, author of Foreign Neon

“A novel, yes.  A film, yes.  But when have you ever been sorry for a book of essays to end?  I was with this book.  Each of these essays investigates good writing by writing well about it.  They are all formally elegant and smart, smart, smart.  And a delight to read.” Mary Jo Bang, author of The Last Two Seconds