journalism, biography, historical texts, correspondence, advertisements, and images (…) possess an equivalent fictionality

Like many societies, the novel is a hybrid construction pretending to be an organic miracle. From its beginnings, fiction has had borderless relations with nonfictional sources, has found ways to incorporate and exploit journalism, biography, historical texts, correspondence, advertisements, and images. But, since fiction is an invention masquerading as a truth, the riot of intertextuality is often craftily smoothed into a simulacrum of orderly governance: these different materials, the novelist seems to say, possess an equivalent fictionality, and just naturally belong together like this—trust me. Some of the pleasure of reading novels, perhaps especially modernist and postmodernist ones, has to do with our simultaneous apprehension of invention and its concealment, raw construction and high finish. We enjoy watching the novelist play the game of truthtelling.

via James Wood: The Punished Land – The New Yorker.