This is one of the most imaginative books on writing that I have read. Readers who look for very clear, concise prompts and descriptions of the writing process will likely be frustrated by Turchi's approach. However, if you are adventurous and willing to follow where Turchi leads, you will have new inspiration and ideas about how to write and read fiction.
Turchi's innovation is his drawing parallels between cartography and writing. He provides scores of full-color reproductions of many kinds of maps, from beautifully illuminated medieval manuscripts to early modern maps of the New World to utilitarian schemas showing metro stops in Washington DC. His examples from the history of cartography serve as a jumping off point for his explorations of the writing process as well as of ways that writers guide readers through their works. His specific examples are not simply drawn from maps, but also from a wide-ranging group of writers, including Anne Carson, Italo Calvino, Ernest Hemingway, and even Chuck Jones' Road Runner cartoons. In the end, this thought-provoking book also serves as an interdisciplinary examination of how humans think -- our need for guides, our approach to organizing a dizzying array of stimuli, and our joy in sometimes forging a new path. Highly recommended for adventurous GRers, both writers and readers.