Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Truth in Fiction?

When reading a novel, most readers would skip anything called 'Editorial Notes'--not so in Apart from Love, perhaps because you notice that it was written by one of the characters in the story, Mr. Bliss, Lenny's Attorney, or--more likely--because the end is slightly open ended, by design, which leaves you hungry for more.

Mr. Bliss is a minor character: He is briefly introduced earlier in the story, and you will note that his name is ironic, because each time he appears turns out to be a time of misery... And so, he opens his discourse making an honest attempt not to sound like a lawyer, which fails at once:

"In writing this Introduction I shall make every effort to avoid making it read like a legal brief. As an attorney at law, I claim neither knowledge nor any kind of experience in the task of literary editing. However, the body of work that my longtime client, Mr. Leonard Kaminsky (hereby named The Author) left behind him, which was found, rather unfortunately, in a fragmented and highly unfinished state, made it necessary for me, for professional as well as personal reasons, to rise to the task.
I served the author for nearly thirty years. Smart and tightlipped, he gave me the impression of someone who is likely to conceal some secret affairs, someone with a healthy appetite for the ladies, an appetite matched only by his experience.
Which at the time, I considered enviable."

He then describes the 'back story' of the story, which I am not going to give away here... What is clear is the fact that he is hard at work, attempting to make sense of the events, and to arrange the various accounts of the other characters, so as to gain a fuller understanding of the story. Here, then, are his last words: 

"Until the very last moment before submitting this text for publication, I plan on reading and rereading it, looking for gaps in chronology, logical misalignments between fragments, even outright errors, which might have escaped me. I am still tormented by my own doubts as to this editorial guesswork.
Therefore I would not put it past you, the reader, to sense some dissatisfaction, as I do, in the current state of this book. It was unfinished, and still is.
I wish I could be more confident of its veracity and completeness. I wish I could do more. This, I suppose, is the nature of the quest for truth—even if it is truth in fiction.

  

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