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Fiction's the best way of getting at the truth

3 August 2015

‘When I look back at those three books (The New Confessions, Any Human Heart and Sweet Caress - and I put Nat Tate in, and make it four books, - though there was no grand plan, (I see that) what I was trying to do was to show just how powerful fiction can be, so it occupies the real like a version of history, it has its own absolute verisimilitude...

It's all to do with fiction: life is mysterious, human beings are opaque - even your family, spouse, children, you don't know what goes on in their heads. How do you find out what makes people tick? The answer is the novel. That's why it endures and thrives, it's the best art form for making sense of the human condition. It deals with the messy, random business of our lives, this common adventure we're on, the human predicament. Fiction's the best way of getting at the truth, however paradoxical that sounds.'

William Boyd, author of Any Human Heart and the forthcoming Sweet Caress, in the Bookseller