There is also something to be said about relations between people and animals, particularly pet animals. Animals do nothing to discourage the wildest fantasising on our part about what they are thinking or feeling. What we are engaging with in the case of an animal – the animal’s ‘personality’ – is a fiction of our own creation. It cannot be otherwise. As for whether animals have corresponding fictions of us, that will forever be unknown, since we have no idea what it means or even feels like for an animal to entertain a fiction.

– J. M. Coetzee, The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy (2015)


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