Tonight after work, I went swimming again. (13 miles of my 365, for those counting such things.) As is often my habit, I was listening to an audiobook on my trusty blue waterproof iPod Shuffle, PoolShark.
The particular book in question tonight was The Storied Life of AJ Fikry. My wife bought it for me, as a birthday present. I'd never heard of it before she gave it to me. I went into it not knowing what to expect.
I'm only about 30% into the book, 2 of its 7 some odd hours worth of audio, and I'm already madly in love with it.
The characters in the book are all very, very real. They have voices all their own, and unique, not always pleasant personalities. They're marvelously imperfect people, with aspects both charming, and awful.
Around the middle of chapter three, some things happened which actually brought me to tears. At the time I had finished my swim, and still had my headphones in, as I was taking a shower.
I stood quietly under the water, gasped in awe, and felt unbidden tears spring to my eyes, and pour down my face. I was transported with emotion, a heady mixture of sorrow, joy, humor, admiration, and above all else the profound stamp of authenticity. These characters went from being potentially believable to people I know.
I have immense gratitude for these rare moments of literary epiphany. Writing in general, and fiction in particular are among the most important things in my life. You should check out that book. Let me know when you hit chapter 3. I bet you feel it too.