Chapter 4. From ‘Readers may be left wondering’ to I’m genuinely puzzled’

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The book review (BR) has recently been the focus of insightful research inacademia, but few studies have explored this genre in a non-academic context,more specifically in fiction. This paper focuses on how reviewers of fictionbooks construct their own identity and that of their readers in the text. Drawingon a corpus of 46 fiction BRs published in The New York Times and Newsweek,I explore the use and function of interactional metadiscourse, in particularattribution and engagement markers. Results indicate that reviewers generallyseek to strike a balance between assessing a novel and engaging with the audience.Though appraisal is usually carried out implicitly, at certain points writerschoose to make their presence explicit and to open a dialogue with readers,which greatly enhances the persuasiveness of the discourse.


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