cutting on the action

photography and film – facts, ideas, values

Fact or fiction?




Here, Susie Linfield’s essay reviewing both fiction and non-fiction on one place, Zimbabwe. I started reading this at a different site which did not show, as it does at the top of the full article in Dissent Magazine, that it was an essay review of a set of books on Zimbabwe. But because Doris Lessing was mentioned at the end of the first paragraph, I wondered if her descriptions of the country, fictional and non-fictional, might come into it, so carried on. There is already a link to Doris Lessing’s return to Zimbabwe with her brother, African Childhoods: indentity, race and autobiography. Link directly, or you can find it in a previous post by clicking the side-panel tag link African childhoods.

Before I got beyond the first few paragraphs, struck by the vivid and detailed historical, journalistic account of Zimbabwe, I was wondering about if fiction or no-fiction was better at describing a place, a time, a people. In other words, is it the nature of the method which gets at the truth or the quality of the writing? A soon as I got to the first review, on Peter Godwin’s, When a Crocodile Eats the Sun, I was forming a view.

Slowly, as the books are revealed and reviewed there is an answer to this question: that no fiction could possibly do a better job than a well crafted non-fiction: except that this leads inexorably to the paradoxical notion of all writing being fiction.



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October 27, 2007 - Posted by | African childhoods, Doris Lessing, fiction, fiction vs. non- fiction, non-fiction, Writing | , , , ,

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