Felsenmusick - The Weblog of Daniel Felsenfeld
The Web Log of a Certain Daniel Felsenfeld: Composer, critic, avid reader, aspiring
bon vivant, capricorn, shadowy figure, advice for the lovelorn

Monday, January 09, 2006

Million Little Pieces Shattered

The book by James Frey A Million Little Pieces, which quite literally everyone is reading on the subways has Oprah quelling and she in turn has Frey's book selling--alas, topping the non-fiction charts. Apparently, according to this report on The Smoking Gun the work owes slightly more to fiction than to reality. Maybe this will be big--like Dutch big--but probably not. After all, squalid stories of depravity, true or not, do sell. It's remarkable what Frey did to make his story dance tragic, including reporting being jailed for months when it was probably not even hours, being tracked by the FBI as part of some kind of South-American drug ring (he was selling a little pot), and, most ghoulishly, forcing his own drama onto quite a real car crash in which two high school girls--friends of his, according to the author; nothing of the sort, according to their parents--were killed. The final line, where his new book, to be a novel, is being written to "...prove he can write fiction" is laugh-out-loud funny. This via Alex.

Addition: It seems the Times has run with this story as well. I love frauds, they make the world go 'round!

Additional Addition: It seems that Mr. Frey is not our only fake. Today the Times had stories not only about him, but about the mysterious JT Leroy (who apparently is not a gender-confused man but rather a middle-aged woman) and the Korean who faked his cloning data. A strange day for literary and scientific truth in this, the US of A. But then again, when our president and congress lie to use daily, and those lies get people thoughtlessly murdered, why on earth should Mr. Frey not have his way with the truth in order to sell a few books? Yes, there are people who will feel duped or betrayed because they bought a book under false pretenses--but that seems more harmless than, say, buying a war under false preteses. We live in a nation of howlers, a place where the most sacred prize is an Academy Award--an award rooted in effective artifice.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My bookclub is reading this and I sent these links out to them. The response I got was "well, why should we read it then?...what a bummer."

My response was:
I think it will be cool to read it with this knowledge...and to discuss why it's such a big deal that he embellished...would it be less powerful if he called it fiction? I have loads of crazy stories from my life that I would love to write about and I would change names and manipulate circumstances simply to make them better stories...it seems like it could add to the discussion at the meeting.

My main observation in the email that I sent was; would it have received this much attention if Oprah hadn't picked it up?

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And on that same note:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2006/01/10/LEROY.TMP

11:07 PM  
Blogger Quinn Skylark said...

Word on the street has it that Frey couldn't sell the book as fiction (rejected by 15 publishers), so he recast it as a memoir and it promptly sold!

11:27 AM  

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