The other night I was looking over Yann Martel's new novel Beatrice and Virgil, and was pleased to find some lovely thoughts on fiction and nonfiction right in the beginning of it. I don't think I'll keep reading it--Martel's a little "literary" for me--but I did enjoy this rumination by his character Henry, an author:
"But fiction and nonfiction are very rarely published in the same book. That was the hitch. Tradition holds that the two must be kept apart. That is how our knowledge and impressions of life are sorted in bookstores and libraries--separate aisles, separate floors--and that is how publishers prepare their books, imagination in one package, reason in another. It's not how writers write. A novel is not an entirely unreasonable creation, nor is an essay devoid of imagination. Nor is it how people live. People don't so rigorously separate the imaginative from the rational in their thinking and in their actions. There are truths and there are lies--these are the transcendent categories, in books as in life. The useful division is between the fiction and nonfiction that speaks the truth and the fiction and nonfiction that utters lies." (pp. 6-7.)
I enjoyed that. I enjoyed that a lot. And, frankly, that's probably the last thing in this novel I'm going to understand, so I'm going to stop reading it there. Sorry, Yann. I do still mean to read Life of Pi, someday. Has anyone read that one? Should I read it? Thanks for any input on this matter, and have a good weekend, all.