I think a novel is a kind of conversation. Both the writer and the reader bring their experience to the page. The reader’s experiences and ideas can be reshaped, challenged, changed. … I think reading books is a good place to start thinking about and understanding people’s stories you aren’t familiar with, outside your comfort zone and experience. A novel will ask you to walk in a character’s shoes, and this can build empathy. Without empathy we are lost. … When someone else’s world is different from our own, we see how we are the same … we see how we are equal.
From an op-ed by Tommy Orange, author of the novel There There
Time magazine, 5 November 2018