To understand the weight of realism in novels is to understand where our
compulsion for it has come about. Realism is a trend that reached its height
with Zola. It had a semi-social agenda that attempted to redeem the 'frivolity'
of the novel by engaging it within the political debate of social reformation.
Realism is the novel's equivalent of journalism's muckraking period. Realism
was equivalent to sincerity.
This, then, is the tenuous link between realism and truth. Sincerity--that
the writer is speaking to the reader in good faith. I find this rather
Once we toss this earnestness overboard,we realize that the novel can be
anything just as a book can be anything. It can be a manifesto of absurdity,
a delirious paean to life and its curios. It can be an accordion, disgorging
words that are linked by the finest thread of metaphor. It can toss aside
narrative and shift through the mazes of simultaneous worlds and moments
that cancel moments that oppose it. But where does it stand if it no longer
stands on sincerity which, supposedly, stands on truth? Such a plaintive
Where do I stand with you?
It is the question of a woman whose lover has not called her for weeks.