Peter Turchi explores the appeal of solvable puzzles, including the prose puzzles we call mysteries, alongside the limits of that appeal and the particular pleasure that unsolvable mysteries and unanswerable questions can offer readers and writers. If an artist should not solve a problem but “state a problem correctly,” as Chekhov wrote, how, asks Turchi, can fiction writers accomplish this? To consider this question, he looks at fiction by Chekhov, Graham Greene, Vladimir Nabokov, Edgar Allan Poe and Dashiell Hammett.
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