The Corner

Klavan on the Culture

Andrew Klavan’s new young-adult novel, Nightmare City, publishes today. Normally we record a podcast when one of his books comes out, but this time we didn’t and I don’t have a good excuse to explain why. At any rate, he’s worth checking out — and he has a great description of his approach to fiction on his website:

So that’s what I do. My stories don’t lecture anyone about what sex life to have or what drugs to take or what language to use. I simply tell stories that take place in the world as I understand it and that represent the things I know to be true. We live in a moral universe. That doesn’t mean that good guys win and bad guys lose. That doesn’t mean that God sends you down, down, down if you do wrong and up, up to happy-land if you’re very, very good. It simply means that there’s a price you pay for everything — not always in the world of the flesh, but in your spirit where it matters; where it matters whether there’s a life beyond this one or not. The price you pay for cruelty, deception and self-degradation is paid in shame and rationalization and a slow strangling of your capacity for both truth and happiness. The rewards can be pleasures of great intensity. They don’t last but then, in this life, nothing does. The price for moral integrity is paid in effort of will, a sharp awareness of your own failings, and an occasional denial of those same intense and immediate pleasures. The rewards are a priceless clarity of heart, a heightened ability to love, and a steadily blossoming sense of joy in the fact of life and the gift of life. As the old saying goes: you pays your money and you takes your choice.


John J. Miller — John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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