Thursday, January 26, 2006

Truth vs. fiction (more on Frey's book and beyond)

As noted in my previous post, it is all so ironic that John Dolan, probably a handful of other equally astute critics, trashed the book long before its fabricated nature was revealed. One can conclude that its bad poor literary quality stems from its lack of authenticity.
I think the picture is more complex. I think we, in our intense longing for authenticity, have forgotten how it all started – as a matter of fact, those who lived through ‘extreme events’, be it a war, a genocide, or even a junkie’s life can rarely tell their stories well. And it’s not because they are necessarily devoid of talent to do so. It is rather the fact that they got mired in the events and unable to look at themselves from a distance. That’s why soldiers’ memoirs are often full of very mundane stories while the big picture is often told in a very stereotypical, clich?d manner. In short, ‘if you want to know about water, don’t ask the fish’ or something like that. Best war movies are made by those who never experienced it first-hand, and I presume good junkie’s stories will be written by those who were never junkies themselves.


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