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domingo, diciembre 28, 2008

Again, A Non-fiction Book Explodes

Long story short: the NY Times says that Berkley Books, a branch of Penguin, has canceled Herman Rosenblat's book, Angel at the Fence. Alas, it seems the love story part of the book is fiction, the life inside a concentration camp part, not so much.

Rosenblatt's agent says:
“It is with heavy heart that I share what I learned today from my client, Herman Rosenblat, about his book, ‘Angel at the Fence.’ Herman revealed to me that part of his memoir was not true. He’d invented the crux of this amazing love story–about the girl at the fence who threw him an apple–which drew my attention when I read it in a major magazine [Guideposts] two years ago. All of the story about Herman in the concentration camps and the love and survival of him and his brothers, he states is true. I understand why Berkley has chosen to withdraw publication of this book. Like millions of others who read this story or saw Herman and Roma on Oprah, I never for a moment questioned the authenticity of the widely circulated story. I know that everyone who has worked so hard with Herman this past year is as stunned and disappointed as I am that this story of hope has such a sad ending.”
Rosenblat himself says:
“To all who supported and believed in me and this story, I am sorry for all I have caused to you and every one else in the world.”

He added: “Why did I do that and write the story with the girl and the apple, because I wanted to bring happiness to people, to remind them not to hate, but to love and tolerate all people. I brought good feelings to a lot of people and I brought hope to many. My motivation was to make good in this world.”
Berkley books says:
In a statement Saturday evening, Berkley Books, which had earlier defended the book, said it decided to cancel publication “after receiving new information from Herman Rosenblat’s agent, Andrea Hurst.” Craig Burke, director of publicity at Berkley, declined to elaborate. Berkeley said it was demanding that Mr. Rosenblat and Ms. Hurst return all money received so far.
For the life of me I am unable to understand for even a nanosecond why this happens. It has happened before, it will happen again. Cannot writers of fiction admit at the front end that they invented parts or all of their story, and that the other autobiographical, historical parts are accurate?

I suspect this has something to do with the sentimental reading public's desire for uplifting true stories, particularly in bad times, and publishers' thirst for "amazing, uplifting stories," stories too good to be true. I wonder why, apart from ego and greed, writers continue the ruse of claiming that their inventions are non-fiction, and why publishers, ordinarily so mercenary, are so gullible about this particular transgression.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Bryan said...

How awful that the Rosenblats lied about their story and that the publishers and movie makers and Oprah didn’t figure it out. So sad.

Some Holocaust love stories are true. The NY Times featured a story about the famous comic book artists Stan Lee and Neal Adams and a story they were publicizing.

The story is about Dina Gottliebova Babbitt who was a 19 year old art student at Auschwitz. There she was asked by the Jewish head of the children's camp to paint something to cheer them up. Dina painted a mural of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and in the end, Dina's art became the reason for her salvation.

Painting the mural for the children caused Dina to be taken in front of Dr. Mengele, the Angel of Death. She thought she was going to be gassed, but she bravely stood up to Mengele and he decided to make her his portrait painter, saving herself and her mother from the gas chamber.

After the war, Dina applied for a job to be an animator and the person interviewing her turned out to be the man who created Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs for the movie. They fell in love and got married. Show White saved Dina's life twice!

2:07 a.m.  

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