"The world is so huge, so many things to do and see for us with more money and power and freedom than any other people in history. To be bored is really a crime. It's an insult to everyone who doesn't...
"The story of Janie's progress through three marriages confronts the reader with the significant idea that the choice one makes between partners, between one man and another (or one woman and another) stretches beyond romance. It is, in the end, the choice between value, possibilities, futures, hopes, arguments (shared concepts that fit the world as you experience it), languages (shared words that fit the world as you believe it to be) and lives."
To Leah it was /sitting room/, to Natalie /living room/, to Marcia, /lounge/. The light was always lovely. And she still liked to stand in the bay and admire her view of the park. Looking around at the things she and Frank had bought and placed in this house, Natalie liked to think they told a story about their lives, in which the reality of the house itself was incidental, but it was also of course quite possible that it was the house that was the unimpeachable reality and Natalie, Frank and their daughter just a lot of human shadow-play on the wall. Shadows had been passing over the walls if this house since 1888 sitting, living, lounging. On a good day Natalie prided herself on small differences, between past residents, present neighbours and herself. Look at these African masks. Abstract of a Kingston alleyway. Minimalist table with four throne-like chairs. At other times....she had the defeating sense that her own shadow was identical to all the rest, and to the house next door, and the house next door to that."
"I guess a big part of serious fiction’s purpose is to give the reader, who like all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves. Since an ineluctable part of being a human self is suffering, part of what we humans come to art for is an experience of suffering, necessarily a vicarious experience, more like a sort of "generalization" of suffering. Does this make sense? We all suffer alone in the real world; true empathy’s impossible. But if a piece of fiction can allow us imaginatively to identify with a character’s pain, we might then also more easily conceive of others identifying with our own. This is nourishing, redemptive; we become less alone inside. It might just be that simple."
~ David Foster Wallace in conversation with Larry McCaffery