DFW on “fiction”


I don’t think I’m talking about conventionally political or social action-type solutions. That’s not what fiction’s about. Fiction’s about what it is to be a fucking human being. If you operate, which most of us do, from the premise that there are things about the contemporary U.S. that make it distinctively hard to be a real human being, then maybe half of fiction’s job is to dramatize what it is that makes it tough. The other half is to dramatize the fact that we still “are” human beings, now. Or can be.

– David Foster Wallace

3 thoughts on “DFW on “fiction”

  1. It’s a fair point, I think wherever you go things seem unreal these days, my experience of the US felt a little unreal, not sure how to put it into words but it almost had the quality of being one big theme park with mental ideas…fiction can do an effective job of showing us our own humanity and pointing out alternative ways of thinking and for this I am most grateful.

    • Oh yes, most places possess a certain self-aware, postmodern quality these days. It’s always important to seek out the most genuine aspects of the world around us – and ourselves – and fiction, though it describes imaginary things, can lead to some of our greatest insights about our true selves.

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