“D’aprés l’histoire vraie…”

by matttbastard

Wait, you’re telling me that it was a hoax, and Misha Defonesca (nee Monique De Wael) isn’t Jewish, but is actually the daughter of Roman-Catholic Nazi collaborators?! Come on, nothing screams “true story” like a kid journeying 1,900 miles across Europe with a pack of wolves in search of her deported parents during World War II. Dunno about this Blake Eskin smarty pants (if that’s his real name), but Defonseca De Wael certainly had me (and, apparently, some lupine-lovin’ film producers in France) fooled with her totally credible (and profitable) wolf cry.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

3 thoughts on ““D’aprés l’histoire vraie…”

  1. These stories are very complex and sad. I agree that it is important to keep filling in the truth — from that we build real social history. But a compelling fiction has its own value, and from your links, mattt, it seems to me that the woman at least semi-believes the fable she made up. I can believe that was a psychological defence — her childhood sounds awful enough.

    I don’t go in for the moral judgements so much, but I do believe that the truth will set us free. So keep accumulating truth.

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  2. Fiction can provide greater illumination of the truth than straight reportage. But memoirs have a vestige of authenticity that, right or wrong, elevate them above mere “fiction”. That there have been several examples of similar literary hoaxes recently (eg, James Frey and NasdijjJT LeRoy, who’s work was always labelled fiction, not straight autobio, strikes me as performance art rather than fraud, a gender-bending persona that allowed the writer, a grown woman writing as a teenage boy, to tackle subjects in a manner that, for whatever reason, she felt unable to do so under her own name and identity) indicates that marketing is as much a factor in these cases as malice and/or mental instability.

    IMO, any “judgment” should be directed more at the publisher and director than the author. Both parties were eager to further a highly marketable ruse by deliberately ignoring (and, in some cases, heaping scorn upon) those who questioned the veracity of “Misha’s” tall tale. Of course, the publisher did eventually become a crusader for “truth”–but only after she got stung for withholding royalties from the author.

    Fancy that.

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