...runoff from the other place.
In this precise sense, reading fiction is always ultimately a political act: for, as the author translates the real world into a fictive space, he also interprets that world. He tells us how and where a person enters into it, how and why that person speaks or moves. Implicit in the structure of a novel is an authorial assertion of what is and is not possible, what is and is not permissible, what does and does not qualify as real. The question posed by a basic logical scheme: What obtains?—this is one of the more important questions the author answers as he constructs his story and his characters. Whose voice, and why? And how? Whose figure, whose shadow? What’s whispered, and what’s hollered aloud? Voice, character, theme, setting, plot, pace…these aren’t mere mechanics: they are the foundational elements of an ontology. And when we immerse ourselves in a work of fiction, we release ourselves into that ontology, into that specific account of being in the world. It follows, then, that a reader must trust a writer—even from that first line and page. For we sally down a dark alley towards a stranger’s voice, and we must ask ourselves: am I walking towards a murder or a miracle?