A Dialogue of Sorts

“Living reading . . . strikes me as a mysterious affair. It involves finding one’s way into the voice that speaks from the page, the voice of the Other, and inhabiting that voice, so that you speak to yourself (your self) from outside yourself. The process is thus a dialogue of sorts, though an interior one.”

–J. M. Coetzee, Arabella Kurtz, The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy

It is strange and satisfying when one comes across a passage in support of an earlier conversation, in this case with my daughter over breakfast this morning. She referred to an idea I once expressed that fiction is the only way to inhabit momentarily the filter of the Other, something I no longer believe. An act of deep empathy perhaps but still merely a dialogue with oneself.

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