Eliot Pattison: Using Historical Fiction To Explore Historical Fact

Eliot Pattison is the author of our current Wandering Scots Book Club selection “Bone Rattler”.  Pattison is a great advocate for using good solid historical fiction as a tool to better explore real history.  Here are Eliot’s thoughts:

Our histories just aren’t good enough…
We are creatures made up of stories. From the time men first took lightning-struck fire into a cave and sat around it we have recounted tales of our forebears, our hunts, our dreams, our journeys, our joys and our woes. Stories are our spiritual DNA. Enough humans repeating enough stories create a culture. A few decades of telling stories about whom we have been can define a civilization. But somewhere along the way we lost the significance of storytelling. Our histories grew sterile. They lost the human element, they lost the anchors that define meaningful stories and, more importantly, that define a people. We are not about dates of wars and names of kings. We are about the songs of Roman children, the brushstroke of the ancient Chinese poet, the tears of Iroquois widows and the salt spray off the bow of a Viking longship. We have novels because our histories aren’t good enough.

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