On Historical Fiction / Askew: A Novel
If history’s primary fidelity is to society, fiction’s is to the individual. History is the story we tell about ourselves as a group, and often, there are competing versions of this story. Fiction is the story of the individual, but its "factual" equivalent is not memoir. Memoir is about a particular individual. Fiction pretends to be, in order that the reader can imaginatively empathize with the fiction’s subject, in a way that is potentially deeper than our identification with the putatively "real" subject of memoir. Each of us, while we read, becomes the characters of fiction.
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University of Victoria