This week the focus is on literary non-fiction.
Like literary fiction, I guess literary non-fiction would be
- thematically complex
- crafted with attention to style and voice
- not ephemeral, but lasting
- important in some way--perhaps in subject, or in its connection to other works of literature, or to profound issues of history or culture
Gibbon was a stylist, and his work is impressive for its breadth and profundity.
Then I thought of Virginia Woolf and A Room of One's Own and Moments of Being.
And I loved this
Both are examples of literary non-fiction.
But then I remembered this:
Truman Capote's In Cold Blood is a masterpiece. Each time I read this "non-fiction novel" I am stunned by the artistry and craft of Capote's writing. He inserts himself so seamlessly into his narrative that you forget to wonder just who it is that is telling this story. In Cold Blood is about psychopathology, the American Dream, American failure, American journeys,American decency and American indecency. It is about narrative and the invisible or partly visible narrator. In Cold Blood transcends genre: it is true crime, reportage, psychological study and novel.
What is your non-fiction literary masterpiece?