Tag Archives: reading

What novels teach us

If it is written and read with serious attention, a novel, like a myth or any great work of art, can become an initiation that helps us to make a painful rite of passage from one phase of life, one state of mind, to another. A novel, like a myth, teaches us to see the world differently; it shows us how to look into our own hearts and to see our world from a perspective that goes beyond our own self-interest. Karen Armstrong, A Short History of Myth

 

 

 

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The moment of sorrow after finishing a novel

A Work of Fiction

As I turned over the last page, after many nights, a wave of sorrow envel- oped me. Where had they all gone, these people who had seemed so real? To distract myself, I walked out into the night; instinctively, I lit a cigarette. In the dark, the cigarette glowed, like a fire lit by a survivor. But who would see this light, this small dot among the infinite stars? I stood a while in the dark, the cigarette glowing and growing small, each breath patiently de- stroying me. How small it was, how brief. Brief, brief, but inside me now, which the stars could never be.                        Louise Glück (more here) 

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memory of reading a novel

Once you’ve finished a novel, what happened in it is of little importance and soon forgotten. What matters are the possibilities and ideas that the novel’s imaginary plot communicates to us and infuses us with. Javier Marias, The Infatuations 

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