Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Relevance of Fiction in an Anquished World

This essay taken from a talk given by Susan Sontag last April, ends with her declaration that we need fiction to stretch our world, as a response to the dilemma she presents above: how to live with the knowledge of the simultaneity of existence--the knowledge that terrible misfortunes and evil occur in the world at the same time as wonderful goodness, contentment and joy. This couldn’t have been republished at a more opportune time in the wake of the tsunami in Indonesia. It helps me reassert my own commitment to my fiction writing, which I had been struggling with this week, trying to justify its relevance in the light of everything else that has been capturing my attention and my angst. The war, the tsunami, the threat of lost liberties at home. All of these ‘serious’ issues seemed to mock my continued desire to express my understanding of the world through fiction. Thank-you Susan Sontag. We will miss you. And may the legacy of your stories continue to inform us for long and long.

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