While browsing through the Toronto Public Library’s Award-Winners page, the name of the Nobel Prize in Literature winner for 2014 jumped out at me: Patrick Modiano. I looked at the titles of his available at the TPL and a cheerfully illustrated front cover caught my eye, that of Catherine Certitude. When I clicked on the link to the book’s page, I saw that it was illustrated by Jean-Jacques Sempé, whose humorous illustrations made Le petit Nicolas (René Goscinny) immortal. I immediately clicked “Place hold.” Sometimes I don’t have the courage to dive headfirst into a great author’s oeuvre, so for me, this little volume of only 95 pages, with lots of pictures, seemed just right for my September teacher-brain. Besides, this book is one part of the reason Modiano won the Nobel Prize, and as I read it, I began to understand why.
For this post, I’m assuming you’ve read Pride and Prejudice and don’t need to be persuaded of its merits. More intelligent and eloquent people have written books and doctoral theses have been written on this novel so there’s nothing really new to say. Instead, I’m going to give you an A-Z of things beginner writers like me can learn from Pride and Prejudice.