Friday, February 03, 2006
Just the Fabrications, Ma’am
[[B O O K S]] * Now, why didn’t I think of this first? What with all of the recent hoopla and hand-wringing over James Frey’s fictionalization of his bad-boy life in the supposedly non-fiction work A Million Little Pieces, it was only a matter of time before some canny wit came up with a good satire about the whole affair. Turns out that inspiration first hit Kenneth J. Harvey, a Canadian novelist who recently made his American debut with The Town That Forgot How to Breathe. Writing in The Times of London, Harvey unsheathes his knives not against Frey, but instead against another James--James Banville, whose Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Sea, contains a suspiciously high quotient of “verifiable facts” to be truly considered fiction. “I believe a comprehensive investigation is in order,” Harvey opines. “If the sanctioned percentage of fact (to be determined by James Frey) exceeds the appropriate percentage of fiction, I suggest that it would be prudent for the Booker committee to strip Banville of his award.” Great fun.