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My Dark Vanessa – People Seem To Be Missing Something Here

What do you expect as an illustration of rape?

So, lady writes a novel and so, well, lady writes a novel. A novel being fiction. At which point people start demanding that she prove she went through the experiences in the novel. As if Lee Child should have shot some member of a bow hunting people club through the head.

You know, fiction:

Although Ortiz is careful not to use the P-word, she questions Russell’s rationale in writing a novel about sexual abuse, and for “mining books that deal with the subject” in order to write it. Her use of the words “fictionalise” and “sensationalise” are worth noting as they seem to imply, in the case of the former, that a white woman cannot experience that kind of trauma, and in the case of the latter, that a novel is not an appropriate way to relate such an experience. When people began demanding that Russell prove she lived through the experience her novel represents (one shudders to think what such evidence might consist of), Russell revealed that My Dark Vanessa is based on experiences she had as a teenager. “I do not believe that we should compel victims to share the details of their personal trauma with the public,” she wrote in a short statement, sharing her fear that “opening up further about my past would invite inquiry that could be re-traumatising”.

We have a way of distinguishing between stuff that is made up – fiction – and stuff that is not made up. We call that second “non-fiction”. Non-fiction does not include novels.

All of which leaves the interesting question. Why are so many of the people arguing about this book so profoundly illiterate?

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Phoenix44
Phoenix44
1 year ago

It’s a narrow point about certain experiences only – nobody is whining about Hilary Mantel writing about Cromwell, or J. K. Rowling writing abot wizards without actually being one. Certain “experiences” are the sole property of those who experience them, and nobody else. Because…well, it’s really not clear where the Progressives are going with this one or what they hope to achieve. All it can lead to is a paucity of books that cover certain issues. But frankly that is probably a blessing for most of us.

Spike
Spike
1 year ago
Reply to  Phoenix44

You must make more disclosures, because I want to know. No, I won’t (I’ll only tease), because that would be re-traumatizing. This mutual blather is what we get when the coin of the realm is excuse-making.

TD
TD
1 year ago
Reply to  Phoenix44

Oh I dunno’. It seems to me that one of the great problems facing the world is the unregulated use of imagination. People writing novels about experiences they never had. Think of all those historical novels. How about actors playing policemen, doctors, cowboys or wizards, when they never were such a person. Nope, there really do need to be some standards imposed. I suggest a commission to study the matter and then to enact regulations. Perhaps a special police force to enforce them.

Ally
Ally
1 year ago

What’s the P word?

Longrider
1 year ago
Reply to  Ally

Plagiarism

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
1 year ago

There’s a new literary prize for works of non-fiction. You couldn’t make it up.

Boganboy
Boganboy
1 year ago

Was just reading one of Charlie Stross’s tales about a horde of elves trashing Leeds.

I sincerely hope Mrs Stross isn’t really like Cassie, the female lead. Indeed I hope Leeds wasn’t trashed by the elves, and the citizens stoned by Scorpion Stare.

But even if it was just fiction, it was an entertaining yarn. Which is what you’re looking for after all.

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