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A Muse and a Maze

Writing as Puzzle, Mystery, and Magic

Peter Turchi (author)

The follow-up to the bestselling Maps of the Imagination, connecting puzzles, mystery, and magic to the art of writing

With his characteristic genius for finding connections between writing and the stuff of our lives, Peter Turchi ventures into new and even more surprising territory. In A Muse and a Maze, Turchi draws out the similarities between writing and puzzle making and its flip side, puzzle solving. As he teases out how mystery lies at the heart of all storytelling, he uncovers the magic—the creation of credible illusion—that writers share with the likes of Houdini and master magicians.

In Turchi’s associative narrative, we learn about the history of puzzles and their obsessive quality, and that Benjamin Franklin was a devotee of an ancient precursor of sudoku called Magic Squares. Applying this rich backdrop to the requirements of writing, Turchi reveals as much about the human psyche as he does about the literary imagination and the creative process. This much anticipated follow-up to Turchi's bestselling Maps of the Imagination is a joy for readers (and writers!) of any genre, helping them navigate the fine line between the real and the perceived, between the everyday and the wondrous.


  • Winner of 2014 50 Books | 50 Covers by Design Observer with AIGA and Designers & Books
  • Winner of Foreword Reviews' 2014 INDIEFAB Book of the Year SILVER Winner for Writing
  • Designated as Shortlisted for 2015 PEN Southwest Book Awards Creative Nonfiction
  • Winner of 2015 Print Regional Design Annual
  • Designated as a 2015 New York Times Bestseller


“Although Turchi’s knack for drawing connections can seem like a sleight of hand in itself, his writing is consistently engaging, lively, and thought provoking. The interactive element is also a delight, as there are actual puzzles scattered throughout (answers are provided in the back) to demonstrate the challenges and rewards offered by puzzles—and by good writing. And though Turchi’s volume seems most tailored to writers, readers and puzzle lovers should find much of value as well.”

Publishers Weekly

“One of the country's foremost thinkers on the art of writing....Turchi argues that writers are like magicians who aim to lead us to a state of wonder.”

Houston Chronicle

More reviews »
A Muse and a Maze cover
  • Price: $24.95 buy »
  • Pages: 248
  • Size: 6 1/2 x 8 1/4
  • Published: Feb 2016
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595347596
  • Illustrations: 100
  • Price: $29.95 buy »
  • Pages: 248
  • Size: 6 1/2 x 8 1/4
  • Published: Nov 2014
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595341938
  • Illustrations: 100
  • Price: $29.95
  • Published: Nov 2014
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595341945
  • Illustrations: 100


Writers / Writing, Language Arts