Monday, February 13, 2006

Truer Than Fact

Why have we forsaken the novel for the memoir?
JULIA GLASS February 11, 2006
Fiction writers work tremendously hard to make things that are patently untrue seem as true as possible. "Let me tell you a story that isn't true," beckons the fiction writer, "and I will show you some of the truest things you'll ever know." A good novel is an out-of-self experience. It lifts you off the ground so that you have the sensation of flying. It says, Look at the world around you; learn from the people in these pages, neither quite me nor quite you, how life is lived in so many different ways.
A memoir says, Look at me; learn from me how one life has been lived. That solipsistic focus has its place; it, too, can move and inspire, but only fiction can give us faith that we all have the imaginative capability to understand any number of stories not our own, especially the stories of people who never would or could write a memoir. 2 Julia Glass, author of the forthcoming novel "The Whole World Over," won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2002.

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