March 29, 2010


Wandering through Wonderlands

“What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?” the boy asked his storytelling father in “Haroun and the Sea of Stories,” the book Salman Rushdie wrote for his then-10-year-old son.

“It’s a subject I seem to have been thinking about for most of my writing life – the relationship between the imagination and the so-called real world,” Rushdie said at his annual public lecture, “Wonderlands,” as Emory’s Distinguished Writer in Residence.

“I’ve spent a lot of time wandering around the wonderlands of imaginary worlds,” while writing “Haroun’s” sequel, “Luca and the Fire of Life,” out this fall.
It’s a good time for literature of the fantastic, said Rushdie, who then explored how the wonderlands of myths, fairy tales and fables “tell us the truth about our own lives.”

“We know when we hear these tales that even though they are unreal — red carpets do not fly and witches do not live in gingerbread houses — they are also real because they are about real things: love, hatred, fear, bravery, cowardice, death.”

“This is the true nature of fiction, to be both so and not so.”

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