I can’t even measure the size of the dent my head left on my countertop (ow) upon reading this story. The small saving grace is that Hillel Italie yet again does a bang-up job of covering it: Berkley Books has cancelled Herman Rosenblat’s memoir Angel at the Fence after it was revealed that, well, it’s not a memoir. It’s fiction:
[Rosenblat] acknowledged that he and his wife did not meet, as they had said for years, at a sub-camp of Buchenwald, where she allegedly sneaked him apples and bread.
While Rosenblat was indeed at Buchenwald, as historical documentation proves, his “memoir” is yet another in the saga of “fiction is better than truth, despite temptation of fact-checking.”
My personal favorite sentence, at which I snorted coffee up my nose, was this gem:
Other Holocaust memoirists have devised greater fantasies. Misha Defonseca, author of “Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years,” pretended she was a Jewish girl who lived with wolves during the war, when she was actually a non-Jew who lived, without wolves, in Belgium.
There’s an etymological myth that “sincerely” derives from “sin cere,” which means, “without wax”, as in “this crap is not coated with wax to make it look better than it actually is.”
Perhaps all future memoir sales need to come with a “without wolves” clause: “I swear, under penalty of being eaten alive by the wolves of the fact-checking Internet, that I have not made this shit up. It’s all true.”
[Thanks to Barb Ferrer for the original heads up.]