Revelation Hunger (After Charles Baxter)


by Rebecca Giggs

How then, she had asked herself, did one know one thing or another thing about people, sealed as they were? Only like a bee, drawn by some sweetness or sharpness in the air intangible to touch or taste, one haunted the dome-shaped hive, … the hives, which were people.

—Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse (1927).

The cloche comes off. The veil drops. A dawning recognition. Bingo. In our age of multi-track information — when official narratives are profligately revised, and zealous fact-checkers snowball inexhaustible detail online — is it any wonder this device, the literary ‘revelation,’ has accrued a powerful voltage? Irreversible swerve in the mind, a revelation. Privately undergone. I’m talking here specifically of the self-reveal; that moment when a mysterious motivation or behaviour clarifies within. The hinge of so many HBO series, reality television and novels equally. Think: Tony Soprano’s gabagool epiphany. Think:…

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