In a world that increasingly rewards certainty and punishes doubt, contemporary novels have, for me, become a much needed tonic. I’ve noticed that I—a nonfiction writer—have recently forsaken nonfiction in favour of voraciously consuming contemporary novels, and I think I’ve worked out why. It’s because we are experiencing a wave of incredibly artful and nuanced reflections on a question that politics and nonfiction are failing to address: who controls the narrative? Whom should we trust to tell stories? And how do we know when we’ve got it wrong?
We live in a potentially unprecedented tussle over the idea of the truth—what is it, and how do we know it when we see it? But our public discourse encourages us to separate into definitive camps—was Johnny Depp the abuser or was it Amber Heard? Is Kanye West a genius or a villain? We have become dependent on dichotomies in a way that obscures truth—because truth is usually much, much more complex.
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