On the purpose of literature

by look i have opinions

Tessa Hadley, discussing Nadine Gordimer’s story “City Lovers” in the September 2012 episode of the New Yorker Fiction Podcast (here):

The [character’s] mother’s version is fascinating, because it actually moralizes what’s happened. It says, “Oh, well, that’s always what happens if you let your daughter go to a white man—that outrage will happen,”—but it’s the wrong outrage. Moral language so often slightly misses its object, and that’s what literature’s for. This story captures the true thing that happened, that nobody else’s language, including the two protagonists’, can actually capture or name.

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