Tuesday, January 27, 2009

From False Memoir to Novel

Exactly what I thought should happen too - a falsified memoir gets turned into a work of fiction.

Remember a week or two ago I told you about Herman Rosenblat's Angel at the Fence? The original publisher canceled publication after some details were found to be false. Film rights were sold, and now a second publisher has made a deal for a novel adapted from the film.

This way a very valid story is not lost to the world, but readers aren't deceived. And I really wish that could be the case with some of the other bogus memoirs I've been blogging about ...

Postscript :

Very interesting side story - Dan Bloom in Taiwan was apparently the one who initially blew the whistle on the bogusness of Rosenblat's book ... while Gabe Sherman and The New Republic take the credit.


Amir said...

But aren't some unreliable memoirs, like Salvador Dali's, really good?

dan said...

Here is the real story about how the Rosenblat book was taken down. Email if you have any more questions for your blog, or if intereseted, interview me by email here in Taiwan, we are neighbors, almost, at : danbloom AT gmail DOT com

danny bloom


bibliobibuli said...

thanks very much Dan. that's an amazing story - and well done going after the truth. the danger here was that people so wanted to believe in the truth of this that they completely suspended common sense. and the strange thing is that no-one seems to be learning from the other cases where memoirs have been held up to be hoaxes - including oprah herself!

Yusuf Martin said...

Define a 'true' memoir! We all know that 'truth' is relative. Even when we proffer up biography as truth it is still truth relative to our subjective perspective.

There is no ultimate truth, as such.

Many writers, and yes Amir I include Dali as a writer too, offer the reader a version of truth, not a definitive truth.

Anthony Burgess was good at re-telling 'the truth'.

BorneoExpatWriter said...

I'm glad there's going to be novel made from the movie. There's a happy ending here. And I agree with Yusuf that there is no ultimate truth. It's all a matter of perspective, of what we know, what we think is the truth, and what we choose to leave out or gloss over for purely personal reasons.

Making up "facts" in a memoir is wrong; hiding a truth that is best left hidden (at least from the memoirist's perspective)is not wrong so long as he's not making up facts to cover his whatever. Just skirt over the troublesome (self-incriminating) details and get to something equally interesting but true. Or if you want to make up and embellish large parts of it to make your life an even better story, call it what it is, fiction. As we all know, there's a lot of truth in fiction and a lot of fiction in so-called facts. Just ask the Bush administration. As an American I'm so glad he's out and Obama is in! But will 2009 hold more truth or less truth, that will all depend on who is writing it.

Excuse me, but I need to get back to the truth in my novel...

Anonymous said...

The truth is a slippery thing. Especially when memory is involved.


Anonymous said...

"The truth is a slippery thing. Especially when money is involved."

The publishers could consider paying such memoirists in fake money :-) ("I thought it was real!")

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

Did you know, also, that Sharon Sargeant, as the forensic genealogist
who put the teams together for the exposure of the ...Rosenblat fraud,
that thanks to the First Amendment, whatever we hear or read is food
for thought - and further research if we wish. We have that freedom.
We can believe in UFOs or nursery rhymes to our hearts content. But if
we are witnesses to an emotional snare by a person we believe in, we
are truly being manipulated and defrauded. In fact, the frauds are
really quite distinguished by the way they use the rewards of such
overt power.