Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Books or People?

"Picture a conveyor belt, a huge conveyor belt, and at the end of it a massive furnace. And on the conveyor belt are books. Every copy in the world of every book you've ever loved. All lined up. Jane Eyre, Villette, The Woman in White...And imagine a lever with two labels, On and Off. At the moment the lever is off. And next to it is a human being, with his hand on the level. About to turn it on. And you can stop it. You have a gun in your hand. All you have to do is pull the trigger. What do you do?"

"Of course I loved books more than people. Of course I valued Jane Eyre over the anonymous stranger with his hand on the lever. Of course all of Shakespeare was worth more than a human life. Of course."

--Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

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