24 September 2008

Against realism

From an enlightening interview with Marilynne Robinson:
Like all her novels, Housekeeping doesn’t seem to have been written at all; the sentences seem to have been there for ever, waiting to be discovered. This effect goes to the heart of her greatness as a writer. She rejects the realist conventions of the novel.

“The assumptions of realism as it has been practised are simply wrong. People bring a great deal of memory and also a sense of present experience to everything that they do. If you see someone doing a simple action like hanging sheets on a line, there is absolutely no reason in that person’s perception that there is anything simple about it at all. I have all the respect in the world for reality, but I think the general assumptions about it are wrong.”

She thinks in metaphors because everything is a metaphor. This is her faith - the world, not as a factual cul-de-sac, but as an unfolding revelation.
(via Maud)

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