Reading Memoir as Fiction

January 15, 2016 § 5 Comments


The always thoughtful Richard Gilbert returns to Vivian Gornick’s now-classic Fierce Attachments to explore how genres differ and to reflect upon memoir’s peculiar appeal:

But would I be loving Fierce Attachments if it were fiction? If it had been written and sold as a novel? How much does my enjoyment owe to its labeling as nonfiction?

Let’s get something out of the way. Gornick once mentioned to a roomful of journalists that she invented in Fierce Attachments a street encounter she and her mother experienced. The reporters were soon baying at her, and the flap spread online. I can’t endorse what she did, but it hasn’t bothered me as her reader because her goal seems only to fully and honestly portray herself and mother. She might have handled her imagination differently, such as cued the reader, but instead she embroidered.

Still, try to read Fierce Attachments as a novel. Would I find it as absorbing? I kept asking.

Read Gilbert’s conclusions here.

§ 5 Responses to Reading Memoir as Fiction

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Reading Memoir as Fiction at BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

meta

%d bloggers like this: