Admiring Silence by Abdulrazak Gurnah, the 2021 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature:
I didn’t act like a boy-victim-hero out of a Dickens novel, not that bad. But I could have done better. I could have been resourceful, charming, brave. I wasn’t brave, I could have done better. Perhaps that was why my stepfather left me to myself. I had the opportunity, the connection, the forbearance of circumstances, the contacts (his), and I chose to act like a stepson. Nor do I remember that time tragically. There were stories, in the first place, stories to fill the hours and the mind in the contest with life, to lift the ordinary into metaphor, to make it seem that the time of my passing was a choice in my hands, that there was method in the manner of my coming and my going. This is what stories can do, they can push the feeble disorders we live with out of sight.