Daily Archives: October 1, 2009

Norman Mailer on nonfiction

from an interview with the late writer Norman Mailer by J. Michael Lennon for Creating Nonfiction: A Guide and Anthology by Becky Bradway and Doug Hesse:

“The form, the medium, determines the message. And the message you receive from a novel is different from the message—usually less interesting—that comes to you from nonfiction. Therefore, I like my nonfiction to read like a novel. By which I don’t mean that I fudge the facts. On the contrary, since I’m already out on a limb, I’m careful about the facts. When I’m writing nonfiction I have to be more careful than the average journalist.”

“Back in 1967 when I wrote The Armies of the Night I divided the book into fiction and nonfiction. I was saying, in effect, that they’re equal. When you write history, you’re writing a species of fiction. What one’s doing, ultimately, is giving one’s vision of life. And how one arrives at one’s vision of life is somewhat different in a history than in fiction, but they are much more alike than people recognize.”

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Filed under fiction, honesty, narrative, NOTED, subjectivity