Saturday, July 11, 2015

Language is an irrelevance!

For a long time now, especially since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, I’ve despised literature for its impotence to change the world for the better, its inability to dissuade or enlighten the people who do harm. Sometimes I think that language as a whole is an irrelevance, that all the true motivations are non-verbal. (I was writing about this as far back as 1996, in a story called The Tunnel of Love). But language is all we have. And although The Book of Strange New Things expresses that despondency and frustration about communication, it’s a kind of love song to intimacy and good intentions as well. And good humour. At one point, Peter laments to Bea that he would need to have the skills of a novelist to describe to her what he’s seeing and experiencing. The reader can relish that, because you’re experiencing everything in technicolour and sensurround via my prose, while Bea has to make do with Peter’s absurdly crappy letters. The gulf is terrifying but also funny.
       ---Michel Faber 

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