by Lavelle Porter
"Milan Kundera writes novels, but are they philosophy or fiction? Kundera himself (in an interview collected in The Art of Novel) finds the comparison with philosophy ‘inappropriate’: ‘Philosophy develops its thought in an abstract realm, without characters, without situations.’ That is what a certain tradition of philosophy does. But when Richard Rorty describes philosophy as turning to narrative and the imagination, pointing us towards solidarity through ‘the imaginative ability to see strange people as fellow sufferers’, we seem close to Kundera’s work, and to much traditional thinking about what fiction will do for us."
Sofia Samatar, Keguro Macharia, Aaron Bady in conversation
'Increasingly, or, perhaps better, consciously, I’ve tried to “erase” in my work (actually from the very beginning) the demarcation between fiction and nonfiction. All literature is a form of lying, and in the hierarchy of such, I view the autobiographer as the biggest liar for claiming to remember everything as it happened, whereas memory has already done its powerful editing. Next in the hierarchy of liars is the biographer, who dares to claim that he can “know” another’s life. The most honest of the hierarchy is the fiction writer, who says in effect, “This is a lie, a fiction, and I’m trying to convince you it’s all true. …”'
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is one of the most fresh and important African writers that you—if you are a reader in the United States or the United Kingdom, or any other part of the Anglophone world that isn’t East Africa—have not been able to read. Her novel, Kintu, is not available on Amazon.com, or Amazon.co.uk, or any of the other arms of the imperial octopus bookseller that brings the spoils of world literature to your door. I had to get mine directly from the publishers (he says, smugly); the director of Kwani Trust, Angela Wachuka, handed me a copy when I came to visit their offices in Nairobi, and if you want a copy, I’m not sure what to tell you. I guess you could go to Kenya.
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