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In Praise of Imagination

15/10/2022 | 11:00

Round table with Ignacio Echeverría, Juan Tallón and Belén Gopegui, moderated by Roberto Valencia. 

Narrative literature has changed. Or at least mutated. It isn’t that the always problematic difference between fiction and fact has vanished from one day to the next. It’s that the narrative projects of many of today’s writers have for some time involved merging these two spheres. Few authors these days are unwilling to include in their novels characters and narrators with an ambiguous status mid-way between the fictitious and the real. As a consequence of these post-modern times in which meta-narratives seem not to include the full human experience, in these times of selfies, of communicative narcissism, of the predominance of the I over a collective conception of reality, there appears to have been a retreat of “pure fiction” in the literary field. In fact this isn’t it: narrative has simply been privatised through a more or less subliminally induced renunciation of creating fictions able to deal with all the complexity of the collective experience. The I rules. This means a predominance of the writer who inserts him or herself, with name and surname, into their fictions, real or otherwise; a predominance of overly recognisable domestic spaces; a predominance of autobiographical confessions. However, from time to time this almost suffocating situation makes readers miss the artifice of imagination. Have narrators given up imagining? Have they forgotten that imagination generates a necessary distance from reality? That it is the best tool to conceive of conflicts, needs, hopes, situations, futures? 


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