And what I felt was only that I had somehow been pushed out into the world, into the real life then, the one I hadn’t lived yet. In a year I was gone to hard-rock mining and no-paycheck jobs and not to college. And I have thought more than once about my mother saying that I had not been raised by crazy people, and I don’t know what that could mean or what difference it could make, unless it means that love is a reliable commodity, and even that is not always true, as I have found out.
Let’s face it: fiction’s a gamble. Nothing that happens in a novel is a fact. Read a book about Alaska, and no matter how the sentences are put together, you’ll know something about Alaska.
But I read fiction for the chance to learn something about being a person. I lose this bet more than half the time. But I keep reading to learn a truth, which I can keep in my pocket along with my penknife. Richard Ford’s Rock Springs is that kind of fiction. Reading it right now feels like the best thing that has ever happened to me.