Revelations of the Novelist’s Power from Ian McEwan

“When I am dead, and the novel is finally published, we will only exist as my inventions. No one will care what events and which individuals were misrepresented to make a novel. I know there will always be a certain kind of reader who will be compelled to ask, but what really happened? The answer is simple: the lovers survive and flourish. As long as there is a single copy, a solitary typescript of my final draft, then my spontaneous, fortuitous sister and her medical prince survive to love.

How can a novelist achieve atonement which, with her absolute power of deciding outcomes, she is also God? There is no one, no entity of higher form that she can appeal to, to be reconciled with, or that can forgive her. There is nothing outside her. In her imagination she has set the limit and the terms. No atonement for God, or novelists, even if they are atheists. It was always an impossible task, and that was precisely the point. The attempt was all.

But now I must sleep.”

 

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