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[Perspectives] The novelist as voice hearer

For the novelist David Mitchell, writing a novel is a kind of “controlled personality disorder…to make it work you have to concentrate on the voices in your head and get them talking to each other”. We are all novelists, claimed the philosopher, Daniel Dennett, a swipe perhaps at Sigmund Freud’s idea of the unconscious as inherently “poetic” but mainly alluding to the idea of the brain as a parallel processor, running off multiple “drafts” that shape us into the narrative selves we become. But most people aren’t literally novelists.