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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Take Two Novels And Call Me In The Morning

Sebastian Junger, author of the non-fiction works A Perfect Storm and the forthcoming A Death In Belmont weighs in on the James Frey imbroglio:

“There are very firm rules in journalism, and so I do reject the entire notion of ‘new’ journalism as a pretext for fabrication, saying that you fictionalized a piece of journalism. ‘A little bit’ is like saying that you’re ‘a little bit pregnant.’ As soon as you do that, it’s not journalism any more; there is no gray area in between....Although I have not written a memoir, my instinct would be to consider it simply a form of journalism about oneself. By that standard, it surprised me to hear some people in the publishing industry assert that memoirists achieve a ‘higher truth’ by resorting to fiction. We would never indulge that sort of thing in a court witness or, for that matter, in our president, so why should we in publishing? Just call it ‘fiction’ and save yourself the headache.”


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