Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1998 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 227 pages
35 Reviews

An indispensable book by writers who have experienced firsthand the rewards and challenges of crafting a memoir


Anyone undertaking the project of writing a memoir knows that the events, memories, and emotions of the past often resist the orderly structure of a book. Inventing the Truth offers wisdom from nine notable memoirists about their process (Ian Frazier searched through generations of family papers to understand his parents' lives), the hurdles they faced (Annie Dillard tackles the central dilemma of memoir: what to put in and what to leave out), and the unexpected joys of bringing their pasts to the page. Featured authors include Russell Baker on Growing Up; Jill Ker Conway on The Road from Coorain; Annie Dillard on An American Childhood; Ian Frazier on Family; Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Colored People; Alfred Kazin on A Walker in the City; Frank McCourt on Angela's Ashes; Toni Morrison on Beloved; and Eileen Simpson on Poets in Their Youth.


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Interesting book about writing your own memoir. - Goodreads
Good sound advice for writers. - Goodreads
Helpful for anyone considering writing a memoir. - Goodreads
Book on memoir edited by writing guru William Zinsser. - Goodreads
Some had no intention of writing their story. - Goodreads

Review: Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir

User Review  - Greg Harris - Goodreads

An interesting if somewhat dated collection of essays in which writers explain how they did it, and do it. There are a diversity of approaches and insights here, but the genre has moved on from 1987 ... Read full review

Review: Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir

User Review  - Rena - Goodreads

This is a finely edited group of essays by well-known writers of memoir. Each one had their own reason for writing a life story and shaping it in their own particular fashion. I think anyone writing memoir would appreciate this book. Read full review


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About the author (1998)

William Zinsser is a writer, editior, and teacher. His fifteen books include the classic On Writing Well, which is in the sixth edition, and Writing to Learn. He lives in New York City.

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