By Anthony F. Hughes

In late August, 2007, my then job of work took me to a townland called Drumsligo which is on the outskirts of of Mallow in North Cork. I subsequently worked there, on and off, for 18 months or so. To this day I hold very fond memories of that town and the people I made friends with in and around same.

One of those whom I met through the course of my work was a woman whom I shall call Helen Ashcroft….which is not her real name. Ms Ashcroft was big into period literature, especially the works of 18th century English novelists such as Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. Being as I, myself, am a fan of the aforementioned and Thomas Hardy (the novelist), also meant that Helen and I were never stuck for a conversation piece, so to speak.

One day the chat turned to the issues of fact and fiction. We agreed that the writings of Austen, Hardy etc. were works of fiction in one sense and yet not in another for their tales were a reflection of the happenings in English society back in those times.

Our discussion broadened and when it did an element of disagreement came into play with regards to the fact and fiction scenario as a whole. I remember saying that some books are completely factual to which my literary friend retorted “even the truest of true books are not true. They may be 90% true but they’re not 100%. There’s no such thing as a totally true book!” We agreed to disagree on that particular point.

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