“Nearly everything that happens in this narrative is based on factual sources”, he tells us, “‘based on’ in the elastic sense that includes ‘inferable from’ and ‘consistent with’.”He wants us to feel that what we are reading really happened. Thoughts, feelings and talk, he assures us, have merely been lightly embroidered over the factual scaffolding; imagination here is closely aligned with empathy and intuition, rather than outright invention. And by staying so close to the facts Lodge does secure a certain amount of blind faith from the reader. He is determined not to forfeit “the great advantage of writing a novel about a real person, namely, the reader’s trusting involvement in the story”, as he puts it in The Year of Henry James; yet at times he also seems anxious that he has not distanced his work from conventional literary biography.
Letters: Fight Fanaticism With Modesty?
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