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The Huffington Post on Fiction

8th March 2012

Must a novelist, whose task often is to mine the jumble of life’s experiences, disguise plot and characters so that no one is offended? Read what Joan Marans Dim has to say to The Huffington Post

The Fiction That Fiction Is Fiction Is Fiction
by Joan Marans Dim

A friend once published a novel that detailed the struggles of a 15-year-old girl, her dysfunctional family, hysterical pregnancy, and doomed teen love affair. The story also revealed her struggle against emotional and physical violence and exposed a tormented family dynamic — a dynamic that was at best unpleasant, at worst demented. As one reviewer put it, the family was like a beautiful piece of fruit that, when bitten, was utterly rotten. The novel was, in fact, a thinly disguised — although embellished — tale of the author’s youth.

When the novel was published, her mother read it — experiencing at once pride in a daughter who published a novel and then revulsion at its content.

The reality my author friend (and many novelists) quickly realized is that the notion that fiction is fiction is often fiction. READ MORE

Joan Marans Dim, a New York City historian, is the co-author of New York’s Golden Age of Bridges with Antonio Masi.

To read more on fiction, see our book: The Author-Cat: Clemens’s Life in Fiction  by Forrest G. Robinson

At the end of his long life, Samuel Clemens felt driven to write a truthful account of what he regarded as the flaws in his character and the errors of his ways. His attempt to tell the unvarnished truth about himself is preserved in nearly 250 autobiographical dictations. In order to encourage complete veracity, he decided from the outset that these would be published only posthumously.

Nevertheless, Clemens’s autobiography is singularly unrevealing. Author, Forrest G. Robinson, argues that, by contrast, it is in his fiction that Clemens most fully—if often inadvertently—reveals himself. He was, he confessed, like a cat who labors in vain to bury the waste that he has left behind. Robinson argues that he wrote out of an enduring need to come to terms with his remembered experiences—not to memorialize the past, but to transform it.