James Frey and Norman Maclean
A passage about the truth-telling power of fiction, from the closing paragraphs of Norman Maclean’s novella A River Runs Through It, is being cited in commentary about James Frey and his apparently fictionalized memoir A Million Little Pieces. (For example, this piece by John MacDonald in the Arizona Republic.)
Near the end of the story, Norman’s father speaks to him:
“You like to tell true stories, don’t you?” he asked, and I answered, “Yes, I like to tell stories that are true.”
Then he asked, “After you have finished your true stories sometime, why don’t you make up a story and the people to go with it?
“Only then will you understand what happened and why.”
We have an excerpt from the opening pages of the novella.