American Fiction: Volume Eight


“The faith we have in fiction at the end of the millennium is no longer a personal luxury, like reading only on the commuter train or in the wee hours when sleep just won’t come. The truth of story in a world full of “story” is no longer negotiable. If we don’t mark off where we begin and end by finding ourselves in fiction, by voicing the world until it makes sense, then hucksters will do it for us on late-night television., entertainers will delude us into thinking that the pleasures of the page can be found instead at the local video or CD or computer store, politicians and ideologues will fill our heads with slogans. Without fiction, the imagination atrophies and dies and we live a life that becomes less and less interesting with each passing year. A book, Kafka famously said, ‘must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.'” –Charles Baxter, from his introduction

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