Fiction allows you to embody certain ideas and give them an emotional reality. The characters allow you to get close viscerally to an idea.
There should be a democracy of voices in literature. There are people who live with a kind of striving and with a certain kind of tenderness – it’s not an unusual thing – and maybe that’s not written about enough.
I’m not being naive; I realise there’s no such thing as a pure reading. But I’d rather keep myself as far out of it as I can.
I really believe we read differently when we know even the most banal facts of an author’s life.
Certain things can’t be approximated, so I’m always interested in getting in another way, one which makes the reader bend in closer to the scene even if that scene, especially if that scene, is painful… Brutal language isn’t necessarily the most truthful way of describing a brutal moment.
I have a profound resistance to the idea that a reader could say, ‘Oh, well, that’s her story.’ We should all be interested, no matter where we come from, or who our parents are. It’s not my province; it’s ours. These questions concern us all.
I’ve said this before – and I mean it strongly – an abstract concept or a moral issue has to be connected to feeling. If we don’t believe it somehow viscerally, we don’t really take it in.