I am still struggling to define how and why it is that fiction can so often give us a better grasp of historical events than non-fiction can.
I have been reading and thinking about this in terms of my own adventures into the research and writing of novels based on facts. I now believe that fiction distills the essence of events and allows a clearer picture to be painted. It is often not until we break things down to their essential components that we see them for what they really are. It’s like an abstract painting that strips away our pre-conceptions. It speaks to the heart of the matter and surprises us with its clarity. The artist has deliberately left some things out, hinted at or exaggerated others, in order to show more clearly what lies hidden behind an elusive ‘truth’.
I know that there is probably no perfect way to express this. Every person must find their own way to view the complexities of life. The important thing is to keep an open mind.
I’m working on it.