It’s a naive and romantic fool who offers the novel or any art form as the cure-all for this form of internal confusion. And novels written with this explicit intention are guaranteed to be a great bore. I certainly don’t write as a public service. But I am aware, at least as a reader, that remarkable act of art-making–bold, perverse, unbeholden, free–have had the side effect of changing the weather in a country, in a people, at a certain historical moment, and finally in me, conferring freedoms for which I am now very grateful.
-Zadie Smith, “The I Who Is Not Me”