The Art of Friction

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"We live in an Enquirer, reality television–addled world, a world in which most college students receive their news from the Daily Show and discourse via text message," assert Charles Blackstone and Jill Talbot. "Recently, two nonfiction writers have been criticized for falsifying memoirs. Oprah excoriated James Frey on her show; Nasdijj was impugned by Sherman Alexie in Time. Is our next trend in literature to lock down such boundaries among the literati? Or should we address the fictionalizing of nonfiction, the truth of fiction?"

The Art of Friction surveys the borderlands where fiction and nonfiction intersect, commingle, and challenge genre lines. It anthologizes nineteen creative works by contemporary, award-winning writers including Junot Díaz, Jonathan Safran Foer, Thomas Beller, Bernard Cooper, Wendy McClure, and Terry Tempest Williams, who also provide companion pieces in which they comment on their work. These selections, which place short stories and personal essays (and hybrids of the two) side by side, allow readers to examine the similarities and differences between the genres, as well as explore the trends in genre overlap.

Functioning as both a reader and a discussion of the craft of writing, The Art of Friction is a timely, essential book for all writers and readers who seek the truthfulness of lived experience through (non)fictions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292718913
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Blackstone is the author of The Week You Weren’t Here, a novel. His short fiction has appeared in Esquire, Bridge, and The Journal of Experimental Fiction. He is a regular contributor to the “Writer’s Block Party” segment on Chicago Public Radio’s 848.

Jill Talbot is the author of Loaded: Women and Addiction. Her work has been published in Under the Sun, Cimarron Review, Blue Mesa Review, Notre Dame Review, and It’s All Good.

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Table of Contents

Foreword, by Achy Obejas
Introduction, by Jill Talbot
Introduction, by Charles Blackstone

"Great Jews in Sports," by Thomas Beller
Author's Commentary
"Remember," by Mary Clearman Blew
Author's Commentary
"101 Ways to Cook Hamburger," by Bernard Cooper
Author's Commentary
"How to Date a Browngirl, Blackgirl, Whitegirl, or Halfie," by Junot Díaz
Author's Commentary
Excerpt from Notes from a Writer's Book of Cures and Spells, by Marcia Douglas
Author's Commentary
"A Primer for the Punctuation of Heart Disease," by Jonathan Safran Foer
Author's Commentary
"Hitlertown," by Stefan Kiesbye
Author's Commentary
"Trickle-Down Timeline," by Cris Mazza
Author's Commentary
"Seven Stories about Being Me," by Wendy McClure
Author's Commentary
"Tagore to the Max," by Peter Michelson
Author's Commentary
"Beyond the Border of Love," by Maryanne O'Hara
Author's Commentary
"Interrupted Reading," by Lance Olsen
Author's Commentary
"From Combaria," by Ted Pelton
Author's Commentary
"Rhapsody in Green," by Marjorie Sandor
Author's Commentary
"Our Day with Jerry Springer," by Davis Schneiderman
Author's Commentary
"Lips," by Lynda Schor
Author's Commentary
"For the Invisible, Against Thinking," by Ronald Sukenick
Midrash [Commentary], by Julia Frey
"Pagan Baby," by Zoe Trope
Author's Commentary
"Bloodlines," by Terry Tempest Williams
Author's Commentary

Afterword, Beverly Donofrio and Kaylie Jones, A Conversation

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