Literary Fraud

#1
#3
Apparently this sort of thing is an entire genre, good tales being prized in the publishing world. Just today there was an interview in the Telegraph with the owner/CEO of the Ann Summers shops:

(...Gold's autobiography.) Called A Woman's Courage, it originally came out last year with a picture of a besuited Gold on the cover. It is currently being reissued as Please Let It Stop and now has Gold as a child - cute, sweet, dimpled - on the jacket. It's doesn't take a genius to work out why. Books such as Please, Daddy, No and A Child Called 'It' sell, and this book is up there with the best of them. It is, essentially, the story of Gold's life and the abuse she suffered as a young girl at the hands of her stepfather. 'The publishers wanted to change the title,' she says. 'I am sure that's for commercial reasons, but for me personally it was because I thought the original cover made it look like a business book whereas, in fact, it's a personal story.'
Not my choice of bedside reading, though.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#4
sadly I fear there is a market of similarly effected folk that gain from sharing experiences.

Humans being inhuman.. Its times like this, when penelties from the law for human cruelty are not enough that I pray there is a god who will be turning this fckers away at the pearly gates and sending them roast in hell forever.
 
#5
Mr Happy said:
sadly I fear there is a market of similarly effected folk that gain from sharing experiences.

Humans being inhuman.. Its times like this, when penelties from the law for human cruelty are not enough that I pray there is a god who will be turning this fckers away at the pearly gates and sending them roast in hell forever.
There's a new market for this kind of thing, and a very lucrative one.
It's increasingly proving to be the case that truth is optional in several cases.

Independent.ie
Put these memoirs out of their misery
When it comes to formulaic, depressing literature, Irish scribes beat all comers, says Darragh McManus

By Darragh McManus
Thursday March 13 2008

It's an old cliché that everyone has a book in them, but if you're Irish, we can probably narrow that down to: everyone has a miserable memoir in them.

We really are the mammies, daddies and sloppy drunken uncles of misery lit, aren't we?

Even our fiction writers, like Booker winner Anne Enright, specialise in dysfunctional families, alcoholism, child abuse, pain, self-indulgence and maudlin regret, but at least she has the excuse that it's just a story. Worse again are the many Irish people -- it feels like thousands at this stage -- who have published books about their actual tortured childhood, marriage, life of addiction or whatever.

It all began with the high priest of self-pity, Frank McCourt, and the unreadable Angela's Ashes. Since then we've seen the unstoppable, virus-like spread of misery lit throughout the Irish literary body.

Certainly, other nations have leaped aboard this tear-stained train with gusto; but when it comes to pure, nauseating wretchedness, you can't beat the Irish -- must be all that drink, rain and lingering Catholic guilt.

Recently, American writer Margaret Jones' memoir Love and Consequences was exposed as a fraud, as have several others of this genre. But don't let that stop you crafting your own forlorn, self-obsessed masterwork and launching it on an insatiably voyeuristic public.

Indeed, one could argue that it's even better if you didn't really have a miserable life, because then your imagination is free to run wild. Just follow our simple guide and literary success will be yours.

How to write misery lit in 10 easy steps:

1. Be of Irish nationality, or at least have moved here at a reasonably early age. If you're reading this, we can assume you fit the criteria, so can swiftly press on.

2. An impoverished background is obviously better than an affluent background, though either rural or urban is fine. If the former, you can drag in lots of stuff about incest, loneliness and the grind of eking out a living from barren rock (even if you actually grew up on a lush 400-acre farm in the Golden Vale).

If the latter, fill the book with references to tenements, shoeless street urchins, and scavenging for food in the bins outside the nearest luxury hotel.

3. Annihilate all traces of self-consciousness and destroy any tendency towards embarrassment. A desire for privacy is your enemy. No event, feeling or thought, no matter how intimate and personal, is unfit for publication.

Sure, most normal people would quail at the idea of revealing the gory details of their parents' failed marriage to millions of strangers, but misery lit writers are made of stronger stuff than that.

Tell everything! Tell the world!

4. Inculcate an incredible sense of self-pity. You must convince the reader that what happened to you is the worst thing that ever happened to anyone, anywhere.

For inspiration, check out McCourt's contention that there is nothing more miserable than an Irish Catholic childhood. Which presumably might come as a surprise to a Calcuttan five-year-old who has had one of her limbs amputated so as to elicit more sympathy when begging for food.

5. Write in an annoying, supposedly 'authentic' style, which in actuality is every bit as stylised as a Petrarchan sonnet. Render the text in phonetic spelling; this is to hammer home the fact that your book is a 'real' tale of 'real' people and 'real' emotions.

Like so: "An' den I was trun inta de borstal as a young biy, an' dat was woeful terrible bad, so it was. An' den de archbishop ate me mudder and sisters and made me clean de cateedral wit a tootbrush," etc.

6. Reference the Catholic Church at least five times per 30-page chapter, and devote three of the middle chapters to the industrial school or orphanage you grew up in. It doesn't matter if that never happened; you can always brazen it out if you get caught out by blaming the confusion on poor record-keeping. And make sure to exaggerate everything by a degree of about 4,000pc.

7. Give the book an absolutely crappy title -- something bum-numbingly literal but with a soupcon of solipsism and a dash of mild delusion. Such as: I'm A Survivor: My Childhood From (And In) Hell, No Country For Old Or Young Men Or Women: A Story Of Sheriff Street, or Da, Why Did You Make Us Eat Broken Glass For Breakfast?

8. End on a heart-lifting, 'triumph of the human spirit'- type note. The public may slurp this junk down like glazed-eyed pigs at some sort of bizarre word-trough, but they don't want to close the book feeling depressed on your behalf.

Plumbing the emotional depths is fine for a few hours, but everyone likes a happy ending; especially Hollywood producers, which increases your chance of a lucrative film tie-in.

9. Go on every talk show, contact every newspaper and ring Joe Duffy weekly to shill that book like an Alabama Bible salesman.

Should anyone question the veracity or tastefulness of your work, tell them that they're 'in denial' and you feel sorry for them because they haven't learned how to 'move on'. (Overlook the irony of a misery lit author telling someone they should move on from past events.)

10. Be prepared to fall out with your family and friends. Strangely, a lot of people don't like their lives being detailed for the delectation of total strangers, especially if those details are completely fictional.

Console yourself with the knowledge that they are either jealous, bitter or, again, 'in denial'. Then set to work on the sequel, an exhaustive account of the pain you suffered after becoming estranged from your siblings because of the first book.

- Darragh McManus
http://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/put-these-memoirs-out-of-their-misery-1314966.html
 
#6
McManus forgot the most important staple of Celtic misery; blame the English.
 
#7
CarpeDiem said:
McManus forgot the most important staple of Celtic misery; blame the English.
Ah Ah! It's quite all right for us to slag ourselves off, but if an Englishman gets in on the act then it's RASCIST :wink:
 
#8
CarpeDiem said:
McManus forgot the most important staple of Celtic misery; blame the English.
And the English version is to blame the Frog's and the Kraut's, you see we have a beautiful EU, where we all dislike each other.....it truley is lovely :lol:
 

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