"Whether discussing modernism, postmodernism, semiotics, Homer, Cervantes, Borges, blue crabs or osprey nests, Barth demonstrates an enthusiasm for the life of the mind, a joy in thinking (and in expressing those thoughts) that becomes contagious... A reader leaves The Friday Book feeling intellectually fuller, verbally more adept, mentally stimulated, with algebra and fire of his own."--Washington Post
Barth's first work of nonfiction is what he calls "an arrangement of essays and occasional lectures, some previously published, most not, most on matters literary, some not, accumulated over thirty years or so of writing, teaching, and teaching writing." With the full measure of playfulness and erudition that he brings to his novels, Barth glances into his crystal ball to speculate on the future of literature and the literature of the future. He also looks back upon historical fiction and fictitious history and discusses prose, poetry, and all manner of letters: "Real letters, forged letters, doctored letters... and of course alphabetical letters, the atoms of which the universe of print is made."
"The pieces brought together in The Friday Book reflect Mr. Barth's witty, playful, and engaging personality... They are lively, sometimes casual, and often whimsical--a delight to the reader, to whom Mr. Barth seems to be writing or speaking as a learned friend."--Kansas City Star
"No less than Barth's fiction these pieces are performances, agile, dexterous, robust, offering the cerebral delights of playful lucidity."--Richmond News Leader