Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Augusten Burroughs: Truly

Memoirist/fabulist Augusten Burroughs in Entertainment Weekly on James Frey: "Remember Milli Vanilli? He's like that. I will never believe that the majority of memoirists are just making stuff up cavalierly and going on TV to swear that it is exactly the truth. I'm the son of a logician. Something is either true or not. And you need to tell people what you're doing. There will always be people who don't believe me, and I have no control over that. "Running With Scissors" is true and I did not embellish it."

Augusten Burroughs and his publisher: They've changed the name of his new collection of essays/pieces from "Possible Side Effects: True Stories" to simply "Possible Side Effects." (His last collection was called "Magical Thinking: True Stories.") And he's added a disclaimer that all of these stories -- which are either true or not as this son of a logician so directly put it -- have been "expanded and changed" (how can you expand or change the truth?) and some of the individuals portrayed are "composites of more than one person." Publishers Weekly says his stories "sometimes ring false" but are amusing. I say they're either true or not true. Not.


RC said...

Really good post...it's so true...they need to change the vocabulary of how they talk about these "memoirs"

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

Michael in New York said...

Thanks. But the vocabulary is already there. When you make stuff up, it's "fiction." When you describe real events in as accurate manner as possible, it's "non-fiction." And yes, The Station Agent is a really nice little movie.

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