Fiction’s relationship with reality is something that has evolved with time: human beings are in constant search of something ‘more’ from life and fiction often provides many with the opportunity to find that. John Keats said that beauty is truth and truth is beauty and with that in mind, fiction portrays life in such a way that it enables the reader to experience the beautiful truth of reality – namely, that it is of our own construction. However, with the advent of postmodernism comes the idea that there simply are no new ideas any more (Best & Kellner 132) indicating that in theory, fiction and reality are likely to become ever-more closely intertwined as authors struggle to conceptualise new plots, characters and narratives.
A prime example of the confusion between fiction and reality is the short-story collection A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. After claiming that the stories were all based in fact and events that had happened in the author’s life; it transpired that the author had fabricated the various plots and embellished the truth because he “wanted the stories in the book to ebb and flow, to have dramatic arcs, to have the tension that all great stories require” (Frey). It is clear that Frey felt pressured to produce a selection of stories which engaged the reader on the basis of their being real and it also seems clear that Frey lost track of who or what was real and who or what was fiction. It demonstrates how, as readers become wiser and more critical, authors are facing more pressure to produce fiction which implements reality more wholly than ever before.
Best, Steven & Kellner, Douglas. The Postmodern Turn. New York: The Guilford Press, 1997. Print.
“A Note to the Reader.” Randomhouse.biz. James Frey. January 2006. Web. 9 August 2011.