Gutkind, Lee, ed. The best creative nonfiction, volume 2.

Author:Levinson, Daniel
Position::Brief article - Book review
 
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GUTKIND, Lee, ed. The best creative nonfiction, volume 2. Norton. 341 p. c2008. 9780-393-33003-8. $15.95. SA

This is the second year's collection by "the godfather behind creative narrative nonfiction" (Vanity Fair), and it has the kind of sometimes fascinating, sometimes annoying content you might expect from a field with such loose boundaries. It starts with Gutkind's introduction, where he uses his own life to frame a simple, powerful argument for the value of shared story experience on paper--and then argues that the intensity of memory matters more than the truth of what's remembered and that the fiction/nonfiction line shouldn't matter much for such work. He says that reporters cared about what was true and not true in James Frey's controversial work, not readers. Your response to this manifesto is likely to determine how you'll respond to creative nonfiction in general. That said, some of the writing here is searing and terrific. There's a great range of...

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