Dishonest Novels

From a review "Lives of the Novelists: E. M. Forster" by Colm Toibin in 2010:

... novels should not be honest. They are a pack of lies that are also a set of metaphors; because the lies and metaphors are chosen and offered shape and structure, they may indeed represent the self, or the play between the unconscious mind and the conscious will, but they are not forms of self-expression, or true confession. ...

Toibin mentions Wendy Moffat's biography A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E. M. Forster in which she observes of Forster ("Morgan" to his friends):

... To speak with Forster was to be seduced by an inverse charisma, a sense of being listened to with such intensity that you had to be your most honest, sharpest, and best self. Morgan's steadfast scrutiny tested his friends' nerves. Siegfried Sassoon found it "always makes me into a chatterbox." The attention made Christopher feel "false and tricky and embarrassed." He always had to suppress the urge to act the clown, to "amuse" Morgan to dispel the moral weight of his stillness and empathy. ...

(cf Lying Verses (2001-03-15), Howards End (2017-07-19), Room with a View (2017-08-20), Passage to India (2017-08-22), ...) - ^z - 2020-04-01