All Those Senses

by ajanefountas

“Anything bearing the moniker ‘literary’ has a duty to make readers see, feel, touch, smell, and taste the worlds it describes. ‘Represent’ means to make something present, to place something before the eyes of readers, to make it immediate: homes, entire towns, open spaces, single individuals, the community to which those individuals belong and with which they enter into conflict. It’s not a question of banal attention to detail, to background, or to setting. An individual’s story comes from adhesion to a specific world, the world from which that individual emerged and with which she is in conflict. Narratively speaking, without the concreteness of the world that he carries within, and that pushes against him from without, a character is only a hollow shade.”

–Elena Ferrante, author of the brilliant My Brilliant Friend, from a rare Q&A in Publishers Weekly