historical fiction as a way of living now

Thursday, June 30, 2011

These brilliant words on historical fiction—what it should do, why it matters—come by way of Andrew Miller, by way of the Guardian, by way of Shelf Awareness.  In all that I write that looks back, I am, like Miller, looking at now.  He says it better than I ever could:

As a boy I understood perfectly that history is not something apart from us, sealed off. It is in our blood, our music, our language, the buildings we pass on the way to work. And at its best, historical fiction is never a turning away from the Now but one of the ways in which our experience of the contemporary is revived. Janus-like, such books look both to the past and to the present, and there is no need to laboriously draw out the parallels for they suggest themselves, inevitably and plentifully.


Caroline Starr Rose said...

I just finished THE ART AND CRAFT OF HISTORICAL FICTION (James Alexander Thom), which also included a Janus reference.

"Then" was once "now". We are to make it become now for our readers. No small task!

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