I cannot recall having believed, even as a child, that the purpose of reading fiction was to learn about the place commonly called the real world. I seem to have sensed from the first that to read fiction was to make available for myself a new kind of space. In that space, a version of myself was free to move among places and personages the distinguishing features of which were the feelings they caused to arise in me rather than their seeming appearance, much less their possible resemblance to places or persons in the world where I sat reading. I seemed to have sensed also from an early age that some experiences as a reader would change me more as a person than would many an event in the world where I sat and read.
From the introduction to Tamarisk Row