Sunday, November 13, 2011

I had a teacher I liked who used to say good fiction's job was to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I guess a big part of serious fiction's purpose is to give the reader, who like all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves.
David Foster Wallace


Tracy said...

Oh, that's an excellent quote, Trish! And if you want a book that disturbs the comfortable, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes does just that.
As for comforting the disturbed - you can't beat Jane Austen's novels.

Trish said...

It's so true, isn't it?

For me it would have to be Patrick Suskind's Perfume for disturbing vs anything by Bill Bryson for comforting.

laughingwolf said...


too few good 'teachers' [including parents] out there, most have no clue what 'education' [read: life] is all about!

Trish said...

A good teacher or parent is one who provides resources, guidance and a sense of curiosity - and then gets out of the way.

I believe the teacher referred to in this quote, to have made such an impression on Wallace, must have been such a teacher.

I wish there were more of them!

laughingwolf said...

indeed, trish!

but also be around to point toward an answer to a query, if they did not have the answer themselves... i always preferred the former

wv: ablemes ...aka: enable me!

Trish said...

that would be the 'guidance' part, no?