When I've read lots of long novels, I will be trained in thinking about the world in many sometimes conflicting ways. ...Perched on the cusp between the particular and the general, between expertise and common sense, the novel promotes compromise, and especially promotes the idea that lessons can be learned, if not by the characters, then by the author and the reader."
- Jane Smiley, 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, pp.175-176
In reading this book so far, I've actually wanted to quote her and say "Yeah! Amen!" about a hundred times. But I'll restrict myself to this one for today.