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Why Fictions Were Born

November 26, 2010

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Fictions exist because of this fact. Because we have only one life, and our desires and fantasies demand a thousand lives. Because the abyss between what we are and what we would like to be has to be bridged somehow. That was why fictions were born: so that, through living this vicarious, transient, precarious, but also passionate and fascinating life that fiction transports us to, we can incorporate the impossible into the possible and our existence can be both reality and unreality, history and fable, concrete life and marvelous adventure.
-Mario Vargas Llosa, The Temptation of the Impossible

13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2010 3:56 pm

    Oh I love this! Excellent quote!

  2. November 26, 2010 4:19 pm

    This quote is so great! Thanks for sharing it.

  3. November 26, 2010 6:45 pm

    Oh, that’s just superb and very true regarding why I read. Love the picture, too!

  4. November 26, 2010 7:11 pm

    Love the picture, and the quote is quite interesting as well.

  5. November 26, 2010 9:30 pm

    My mom used to collect masks like that one and we had them everywhereeee on the walls in our house. Made me smile to see one here :)

  6. November 27, 2010 7:53 am

    Nice quote, but I think it needs to be explored philosophically. Llosa’s statement seems like a perfect explanation for my fiction addiction, but on the other hand, is it just a rationalization? I have always wondered if I preferring a reading life because I’m too lazy or chicken to go pursue a real life. Yet I know so many people that have full active lives but their souls seem shallow because they don’t have the sixth sense that our wordy abstract lives give us.

    When people bring up this subject I ask them, who would you prefer being: Neal Cassady or Jack Kerouac?

    • November 29, 2010 5:44 am

      The whole book is a philosophical exploration, so if you’re curious, I’d highly recommend getting your hands on it. :)

      However, I don’t think Vargas Llosa was saying that people read fiction because they don’t want to have real full lives. He was saying that there are so many *different* lives, and we can only lead one, except through reading. :)

  7. jane permalink
    November 27, 2010 8:57 am

    Interesting quote although I agree that there is more to it — I often like to read about lives I definitely would not prefer to be living. But I do love the way reading enables you to learn from experiences you have never had.

    • November 29, 2010 5:45 am

      I think Vargas Llosa would agree with you: the wonderful thing about reading is you can experience lives you wouldn’t want to actually go through!

  8. November 27, 2010 11:05 pm

    Gorgeous photo and I like the quote especially the first two sentences.

  9. November 27, 2010 11:31 pm

    Great quote!If you haven’t read Vargas Llosa’s novel The Storyteller, please go find it now (as if you didn’t have enough on your plate already). You won’t be disappointed.

  10. November 29, 2010 9:22 am

    Love this quote. Really makes me want to go pick up something Vargas Llosa.


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