Robert Ferguson: Alone in the World

Excerpt:

Literature, after all, is about conflict. As Tolstoy famously opens Anna Karenina, “all happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The distinct problems in unhappiness, the specifics in disequilibrium, drive stories. The mundane quotidian–“like one another”–will not hold even a willing reader for long. To keep us interested, writers supply the mental processes of a protagonist in turmoil. We thereby hear an inner conversation and can learn something about our own from it.

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