Mary Gaitskill in UnHerd:
As a fiction writer who teaches, I often speak about what I love in fiction, what to me makes it powerful and engaging. This is a version of a talk I have been giving for years to students and other interested parties; it is a talk I’ve become — what is the right word? — uncertain about in the last five years, not because I don’t believe what I’m saying or that I care about it less but because I’m not sure that people can find it meaningful anymore.
There are a number of reasons I feel this, most of which have to do with how we take in knowledge and information and how that has changed the nature of perception. I’m not saying anything new here: think iPhones and the constant staring there at, a skull-fracturing change which plainly has consequences beyond how people understand the reading and writing of fiction.
Which by itself — the reading and writing of fiction — is a very hard thing to talk about without falling all over yourself.