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Do novels have to answer a question?

I just came from a writing craft group where we discussed a question I asked in an earlier session:  Do novels have to answer a question to succeed?

When I think about novels that I love, they do ask questions.  In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy asks the question:  does love conquer all?

In the novel I am writing now, I am asking questions about sexuality but also why did the entire gay community ignore the AIDS crisis until it killed many gay men?  How can a community turn a blind eye to a fatal threat?

This question is not just for the gay community.  It speaks to the Jewish community during the Holocaust when anyone who read Mein Kampf would have known about Hitler’s plans to murder Europe’s Jews.

It is also the situation in the United States where millions of Americans vote against their economic interest, believing that ordinary Americans are responsible for the banking collapse when it was Greenspan’s disastrous policies as Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and the predatory policies of Goldman Sachs.

And the perils of the ever widening class distinctions in the United States– including the denial that the United States has classes.

So I am looking at denial– which also affected me when I denied I was alcoholic, and denied I was bipolar.  However the denial was nothing compared to the rest of my family, most of whom drink themselves to death.

So I examine love and sex in the time of the plague, and how denial operates in current affairs when it makes no sense.

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