Is There Truth in Fiction?

John Gardner, The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers, 79:

Fiction seeks out truth. Granted, it seeks a poetic kind of truth, universals not easily translatable into moral codes. But part of our interest as we read is in learning how the world works; how the conflicts we share with the writer and all other human beings can be resolved, if at all; what values we can affirm and, in general, what the moral risks are. . . . Some bad men write good books, admittedly, but the reason is that when they’re writing they’re better men than when they beat their wives and children.”

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