‘For a dose of reality, I always turn to fiction’ said Johannes Speyer. Pyetr Turgidovsky, to no one’s surprise, takes a different line. ‘What differentiates reality and fiction, in my experience,’ he wrote recently, ‘is that in fiction people learn lessons from their mistakes, whereas in reality people go on making the same mistake over and over again. From this we might deduce that fiction is manifestly fiction. But we don’t, of course, deduce anything of the sort. We are the eternal suckers’.
It’s hard to argue with anything so elegantly phrased as that final sentence, is it not?