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American Poems: Books: Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir
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Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir

Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir
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  • List Price: $13.95
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In Stock
  • Seller:Dodge Learning Resources
  • Sales Rank:99,045
  • Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
  • Media:Paperback
  • Number Of Items:1
  • Edition:Rev Sub
  • Pages:240
  • Shipping Weight (lbs):0.5
  • Dimensions (in):5.5 x 0.6 x 8.3
  • Publication Date:May 20, 1998
  • ISBN:0395901502
  • UPC:046442901505
  • EAN:9780395901502
  • ASIN:0395901502
Availability:Usually ships in 1-2 business days

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Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis

An indispensable book by writers who have experienced firsthand the rewards and challenges of crafting a memoir

 

Anyone undertaking the project of writing a memoir knows that the events, memories, and emotions of the past often resist the orderly structure of a book. Inventing the Truth offers wisdom from nine notable memoirists about their process (Ian Frazier searched through generations of family papers to understand his parents' lives), the hurdles they faced (Annie Dillard tackles the central dilemma of memoir: what to put in and what to leave out), and the unexpected joys of bringing their pasts to the page. Featured authors include Russell Baker on Growing Up; Jill Ker Conway on The Road from Coorain; Annie Dillard on An American Childhood; Ian Frazier on Family; Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Colored People; Alfred Kazin on A Walker in the City; Frank McCourt on Angela's Ashes; Toni Morrison on Beloved; and Eileen Simpson on Poets in Their Youth.

Amazon.com Review
Every time Inventing the Truth appears in a new edition, editor William Zinsser can't help but add to it. The first edition (1987) evolved from a series of New York Public Library talks, for which the mandate was not to lecture about the genre of the memoir but to explain how a specific memoir came to be written. In the book's 1995 edition, Russell Baker, Annie Dillard, Alfred Kazin, and Toni Morrison were joined by Jill Ker Conway, Eileen Simpson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., and Ian Frazier. This time around, Zinsser has added a rich and charming reminiscence by Frank McCourt (Angela's Ashes).

The authors do stick to their assignment: Russell Baker credits his huge family with helping him "learn a lot about humanity from close-up observation"; Jill Ker Conway talks about her desire to write a female memoir that was not a romantic happily-ever-after; and Henry Louis Gates Jr. discusses "want[ing] to write a book that imitated the specialness of black culture when no white people are around." But there is also plenty of advice for writers here, and some general thoughts about the genre. Conway addresses the difficulty of "going back as a historian" and trying to understand "all the things you took as a given when you were a child." Gates warns us to "be prepared for the revelation of things you don't even dream are going to come up." And Annie Dillard contemplates the strangeness of spending "more time writing about [a scene or an event] than you did living it." --Jane Steinberg


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