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There’s something very powerful in stating things you believe about yourself as truths that you can share with the world. It legitimises them; makes them as believable and authoritative as something you read in a book. And to a woman who lives and breathes by books, that means a great deal.

Of course, this validation doesn’t help the consummate reader/writer in her other dilemma: the lack of third-person narrative explaining the feelings of other characters. She’s forced to guess based on their actions, which, contrary to narrative convention, may or may not be relevant to the action at hand. It’s really not fair at all.

And then, to confuse the issue still further, there’s Dorothy Sayers. Her genre-savvy detectives play jump-rope with the line between fiction and reality.

I looked for any footmarks of course, but naturally, with all this rain, there wasn’t a sign. Of course, if this were a detective story, there’d have been a convenient shower exactly an hour before the crime and a beautiful set of marks which could only have come there between two and three in the morning, but this being real life in a London November, you might as well expect footprints in Niagara.

-Dorothy Sayers, Whose Body

What’s a poor reader to do?