Rumors, put forth by San Diego literary agent Sandra Dijkstra, are now making the rounds that the San Diego Union-Tribune books section is dead. I have no wish to perpetuate a false rumor and I plan to make several calls tomorrow to confirm if this is indeed the case. (In the meantime, an email has been sent to Books Editor Arthur Salm to determine information.) But if this is true, this is very sad news, as Salm ran one of the more underrated book sections in the country. (Don’t believe me? Check out Salm’s footnote-laced review of Consider the Lobster.)
Joseph Campana offers one of the best takes on the J.T. Leroy fraud ruling, pointing out that “[t]he problem was the exploitation of addiction and abuse narratives to feed a national hunger we assiduously excuse or deny.” I too am perturbed that such a base capitalization upon the public’s appetite to commiserate with the scarred horrors of someone ostensibly using fiction as a coping mechanism would outweigh the possibilities of infinitely more interesting author hoaxes and identity shenanigans. If anything, Laura Albert should pay for cheapening the potential of more talented authors to tinker with what is real and what is not.
Michael Winter is turning to Facebook to unveil his novel. There, he will find many friends who will claim passing acquaintance with him as an excuse to harangue him with hastily composed messages. Or he will find a way to get laid.
Pierre Jourde is in trouble. Five farmers have accused the French novelist of revealing family secrets in a “tell-all novel.” But one wonders why these farmers didn’t just keep their traps shut. After all, with the “novel” label attached, Jourde’s work is “fiction.” Was the book miscategorized in the nonfiction section? Personally, I’m hoping for more “tell-all novels,” if only because resulting conflicts along these lines may encourage more baroque French novels deconstructed by literary scholars instead of barristers.
Lev Grossman offers this bold lede: “Writing about rich white people is no way to make it as a novelist anymore.” On the contrary, Mr. Grossman. Never underestimate the parochial reading tendencies of those determined to read solely within their own niches. Particularly the rich white people who inhabit certain areas of New York. After all, if they view my own safe neighborhood as dangerous, then what’s to suggest that they won’t apply the same ridiculous lack of logic to their reading choices?