Friday, January 20, 2006

Tim Hall confesses

You have probably noticed, if you read any blogs besides this one, that for the last two or three weeks there has been enormous discussion of one James Frey. Frey, it seems, published a successful memoir, but was subsequently found to have... well, you know... invented bits of it.

I haven't attempted to cover this story, for a variety of reasons. First, it was an American success story and not a book I'd ever heard of. Second, it seemed that other bloggers were doing it more than justice. Third, I have never yet heard of a successful memoir which didn't embroider the facts somewhat. And a lot more like that. However, if you want to know what the book's editor, the famous Nan Talese (now I've definitely heard of her), thinks about it all, she gives her views in the New York Observer. (Link from Publishers Lunch.)

There is also what appears to be a separate but similar debate about who, or what, a writer called J.T. Leroy is, but I'm not up to speed on that one either.

Meanwhile, Tim Hall writes to point out that, over at, he has decided to come clean, now that a gun has been pressed to his head, and admit that his new novel is 'mostly fiction'. Which is quite a neat way, I must admit, of giving your first novel a bit of publicity. Shades of Sylvie Nickels.

'I became a novelist because I am interested in exploring the truth,' Hall says. 'If I wanted to lie to readers, I'd write a memoir.'


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