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By Dale Salwak (eds.)

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Could it perhaps be that the novelist today is failing to create a complete and satisfying world of his own, a world like that of Dickens or Dostoevsky or Tolkien or P. G. Wodehouse, a world that is instantly recognisable once the reader has got to know it, and perhaps come to develop his own kind of addiction? If this is so, what is the explanation? It could prove to be a general impatience with invention itself, with make-believe; and a growing preference for fact, or at least for 'faction', in place of fiction.

Unfortunately, the only way to know this is first to become educated, just as the only way properly to despise success is first to achieve it. Let me return and give all but the last word to Marcel Proust, who wrote: Our intellect is not the most subtle, the most powerful, the most appropriate instrument for revealing the truth. It is life that, little by little, example by example, permits us to see that what is most important to our heart, or to our mind, is learned not by reasoning, but through other agencies.

To us it seemed quite 'normal'. But if that was not this English jurywoman's problem, then what was? The novel, which eventually and by a process of bargaining received the prize, had disturbed her deeply in some way - really upset her. That was clear. As I pondered the question it suddenly struck me that she must have felt herself exposed to the author of the book - almost as if violated by him. It was indeed a powerful and disturbing novel - that was, after all, why the jury had singled it out, and why they eventually awarded it the prize - and it had got to this jurywoman in some way that had repelled and even horrified her.

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