Literary Fiction is becoming vitally significant in these times. That is so because it does not merely tell the story well but takes you into another’s experience of life; their joy and suffering. And it reflects life almost as truthfully as a mirror, often showing it rather than merely stating things about it.
In Corona times the world is changing because of the onslaughts on various economies. People are troubled not only physically but socially, emotionally, psychologically and economically. This can create tremendous though unseen health problems that may come in surreptitiously and take their toll. There has never been such a demanding time in human memory.
What can be done to overcome this? It is necessary to be detached. Shakespeare suggested that things without remedy should be without regard. Literary Fiction is a vehicle to attain detachment for hours on end. It draws you in; away from your personal pains and losses and puts you in touch with the sufferings of others. The woes of others don’t give personal pain but, due to aesthetic distance, provide pleasure from what troubles others. We happily weep in a tragedy. Literary Fiction helps you to travel into others’ experiences and see life critically because the chief function of this category of fiction is to foreground experience. This does not mean the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” alone; it means treating even ordinary everyday experiences with the highest regard.
Literary fiction is significant also for “the criticism of life” that it contains. It edifies the reader and keeps them away from getting too involved at a personal level. Great novels have this quality of giving you some therapeutic effect or the healing touch. They can help us remain sane by taking us away from personal loss and making us see how others handled suffering. It is undoubtedly a panacea for these times that are “sicklied over by a pale cast of thought.” Literary Fiction can perform the role of religion performed in earlier times. And it can do that without leading to religious wars and conflicts.