Today, a one-question quiz. There's no grade involved, though, no right or wrong answer per se.
In Zadie Smith's essay collection Feel Free, which I've been reading on and off for months, there's a section made up of Harper's book reviews she's done. One is a review of a novel called Seven Years by a Swiss writer named Peter Stamm.
"Seven Years is a novel to make you doubt your own dogma. What more can a novel do than that?"
After reading this, I thought: she's absolutely right. A novel can't be much more effective or involving than one that makes you look at things, even if only for a few moments, through a perspective entirely different, or even opposed to, your usual one. So my question is, what novel has done this for you, if any?
I'd say for me a novel that does this is Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited. A family of wealthy English Catholics with a palatial estate, politically reactionary, that stands proudly against the working class and any notions of egalitarianism, in which a non-religious person at the end of the book appears to convert to a believer -- there's almost nothing in this book, in the world outside the book, I ascribe to or believe in. And yet by the end, in the hands of the brilliant Waugh, I may actually have, for a stretch of time, doubted some of my own dogmas. Without question, as Smith says, quite an accomplishment for a novel.
Any novels that have done this for you?
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