Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Hunger for Fiction Disguised as Nonfiction

This is an interesting article about the whole fiction/ memoir/ exaggeration issue brought to the fore mainly by James Frey and Oprah, but also by the story of the MIT students told in Bringing Down the House and several other recent works. I have no problem with exaggeration, which I always presume to be a part of memoir, and most of this is a fight over labels rather than ethics. The author here brings up some interesting issues with regard to David Sedaris, but Sedaris is completely open about his exaggeration, which in my mind makes him ethical. He has even written about his exaggeration itself. What I find most interesting is that nonfiction sells better than fiction, and that is where most of these problems begin. It is truly a sign of our times that people want to buy nonfiction, but what they actually long for and love most is fiction.

I wonder why that is...

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