Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘fiction vs. memoir’

Shop Talk |

[reviewlet rewind] A Girl Named Zippy, by Haven Kimmel

Reviewlets give FWR contributors the chance to recommend books of all genres that other fiction writers might enjoy. Reviewlet Rewinds (like this one) highlight books published more than two years ago, and Reviewlet Classics refer to books published more than twenty years ago. You know that moment in life when you realize that stories of the things that loomed large in childhood — your terror of the woman who lives next door or your absolute certainty that some of the playing cards in a deck are female and some, male — can be condensed, as if through a trash compactor, […]


Reviews |

Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms, by Ethan Gilsdorf

Ethan Gilsdorf, a former Dungeons and Dragons addict and seasoned pop-culture and travel journalist, chronicles his international odyssey through the worlds of Harry Potter bands, medieval reenactment societies, World of Warcraft guilds, and massive fantasy conventions, to name only a few. In the process he learns to come to terms with his own attachment to the imaginary that has persisted into his forties. As a dedicated fairytale and myth fanatic myself, my curiosity was piqued by the title of the book which is at once a memoir, an insider’s guide to the world of gaming, and a quest that takes him all around the world to find answers not only to his own life, but to the larger question of why tens of millions of people turn away from reality and fully embrace fantastical other-existences.


Interviews |

Finding the Narrative: A Conversation with Sung J. Woo

Sung J. Woo was born in Korea and immigrated to the United States with his mother and two sisters when he was ten years old. Several years earlier, his father had moved to this country in order to establish a small business–a small, Asian-themed store in a mall in New Jersey–which would one day serve as the basis for the setting of Sung Woo’s debut novel, Everything Asian. Captured with humor and generosity, the book chronicles one year in the lives of the Kim family as they adjust to a new life in the United States and interact with fellow shopkeepers at Peddlers Town.

Woo spoke with Jeremiah Chamberlin on May 15th during the Ann Arbor Book Festival.


Interviews |

Who We Are Now: A Conversation with Colson Whitehead

At the Ann Arbor Book Festival, FWR’s Jeremiah Chamberlin talks with acclaimed novelist Colson Whitehead about the process of writing his latest book, Sag Harbor, the art of manufacturing genuine nostalgia, and the duality of veering “between the capricious horribleness of the everyday and the absurd beauty of existence.”


Shop Talk |

fictionalizing Bolaño

Forget the fictionalized memoir…here’s a novelist who seems to have revised his life story both on and off the page. Was Roberto Bolaño actually in Chile, as he proudly claimed, at the time of Pinochet’s military coup? Did he make up his story of heroin addiction and recovery? (His wife says he did.) Bolaño reportedly “liked to play tricks and create mysteries” and “may just have been trying to lay a trap for his future biographers.” Was he playing at being a posterity-worthy figure (not just writer)? Or was it all just an intellectual game? Manuel Llorente, the editor of […]


Shop Talk |

publishing fiction as fiction

I swore I wasn’t even going to blog about the whole Angel at the Fence debacle, but then I saw this: that York House Press hopes to publish this so-called “fake memoir” by a Holocaust survivor as a work of fiction; this book certainly contains some fictional (or, it could be argued, mis-remembered) details–including the one its title refers to–but author Herman Rosenblat really is a death camp survivor, and he hardly deserves to be viciously attacked as the next Margaret B. Jones. Here’s the publisher’s official statement, which defends, quite convincingly and movingly, their decision to publish the book […]