Friday, March 06, 2009

Fact versus Fiction

As I have endlessly discussed on this blog, it's generally wise to resist public hunger to know the real-life sources of one's fiction, because for one thing, it can lead to mistaken biographical readings of the work as a whole, and for another, any sensible novelist is aware that once she has sent real life through the mangle of her own perceptions and the transformative process of fiction, it's become something else altogether and can no longer be claimed as factual truth. And such discussions do a great disservice to fiction, which is more than the sum of its parts - real life and imagination - and something more powerful altogether. Breaking it down into its 'components' is to reduce it and deny its transcendence.

It seems, however, that novelist Julie Myerson has not only admitted to the real-life trigger for her latest fiction, but is herself making the category error usually made by a naive public, and claiming that the troublesome drug-addicted boy in her latest novel is indeed her own son.

But one wonders what pressures she has been put under to do this (James Frey hovers virtually at my shoulder) with a public hungry for fact in fiction. She's getting plenty of publicity out of it, after all...
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