From the library:
Craig Clevenger, The Contortionist’s Handbook
Craig Clevenger, Dermaphoria
Andrei Codrescu, Messiah
Andrei Codrescu, Wakefield
John Colapinto, About the Author
Wanda Coleman, A War of Eyes
I came for the Clevenger and on a whim got some other books in the C’s. I have to admit I’ve never read a Black Sparrow book besides Bukowski and Fante so I got the Coleman. I hadn’t heard of About the Author but I read it first. I love books about writers.
The novel’s about a failed writer who steals his roommate’s novel a becomes a literary celebrity. He spends the rest of the novel trying to cover his tracks. Enjoyed it, a real page turner. Very prescient considering what’s been happening recently.
I haven’t written about the plagiarism case with the Harvard girl because everybody else was. And also: I don’t care. It’s hard to get worked up about a book called How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life. It sounds terrible even if it was original. It’s a YA book, right, not heavy literature. I figure they crank out YA books like potato chips. The book shouldn’t be taken seriously, real or not.
I didn’t like how self-righteous everyone was getting about the writer, gleefully jumping all over a teenager. She fucked up, she’s a kid. This is just the literary world’s version of a tabloid scandal, i.e. the response was petty too.
I don’t think plagiarism or Frey is excusable, but the anger at writers seems misdirected. Frey was pressured by his publisher to call it a memoir. He seemed to be scapegoated for a larger problem. It’s not excusable that it happened, but it is understandable. The same goes for the Harvard student. The problem isn’t only that she got $500,000 for a fake book, but that she got paid $500,000 for a book of weightless chic-lit.
I am obviously a little defensive because of the Shirley Shave thing. I still don’t think Shirley Shave falls into the same category as those writers. I didn’t steal anything. Getting published in Best Sex Writing crossed a line, but to a much lesser degree. For your commenting pleasure, Anastasia, or Ass for short, left a comment in which she insults every commenter on Ash Tree.
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