Fiction and non-fiction

In Bosnian, there are no words that are equivalent to “fiction” and “nonfiction,” or that convey the distinction between them. This is not to say that there is no truth or falsehood. Rather, the stress is on storytelling. The closest translation of nonfiction would really be “true stories. ”   Aleksandr Hemon, interviewing Teju Cole

Teju Cole

 . . these days, a work has to be clearly marked “fiction” or “nonfiction,” and Every Day Is for the Thief is called a work of fiction because it has quite a number of things in it that are made-up. But when I’m reading Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family, or W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn, or those short stories by Lydia Davis, the last thing on my mind is whether they are a literal record of reality. Who cares? All I want is to be dragged down into a space of narrative that I haven’t been in before, into a place where, as you say, a truth is created. And let’s be frank: even the most scrupulous New Yorker article is an act of authorial will and framing, and is not as strictly “nonfictional” as it suits us to think it is.   (from here)

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