Sunday, August 03, 2008

Life won't actually do

A story is always on the move, and from the author's point of view there is nothing natural about it. Constant readers become writers at the point in life when they acquire a fascination with a process of falsification: with imposing shape while simulating the evolution of character and event, making determinations while fostering an illusion that in the next chapter anything might happen. A novelist spends a lifetime in the business of presenting what's life-like, but not like life. It's a sobering thought - life won't actually do. Verisimilitude and the truth are conjoined twins, one often flourishing at the expense of the other.

--Hilary Mantel, "Real Books in Imaginary Houses"

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