Thursday, December 11, 2008

Automatic autobiography

I've been thinking much more often lately about the authors of the books I read, and not just the books themselves. I suppose this started consciously with The Kite Runner, because I spent most of the book preoccupied with wondering how much of it was autobiographical. Khaled Hosseini is an excellent storyteller but not really, I think, a very good writer, so you aren't completely swept up in the story--you have time to wonder if it's true. Then, in Senior Lit, we were talking about how some people wondered all the way through Bastard Out of Carolina which bits were autobiographical, and having trouble differentiating Bone from Dorothy Allison. But I didn't think of that at all. It never occurred to me to wonder what was autobiographical, and I think it's because Dorothy Allison is a better writer. She's a good writer not just in making even the most unpleasant descriptions sound poetic, but also in simple shape--she's good at putting things together.

The Pursuit of Love also comes to mind--everyone knows it's pretty heavily based on the Mitford family. I'm looking forward to reading The Mitford Girls, to see how much they relate to each other.

And anyway, all fiction has hints of autobiography. There are people I won't show my writing to, not because the story is particularly autobiographical but because I feel like the story will say who I am--and if it didn't say something about me, it wouldn't be any good.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails