Tuesday, February 16, 2010
THE SECRET HISTORY BEHIND SECRET HISTORY
That’s the topic of today’s guest blog over at the Rap Sheet, where J. Kingston Pierce kindly granted me permission to write a bit about the Hector Lassiter series in general, and PRINT THE LEGEND, in particular.
The Lassiter series spins on historical figures and events, but attempts to give the understory of 20th Century history: As crime novelist Hector remarks in PRINT THE LEGEND, “Historical events…are too often symptomatic of deeper, darker machinations hatched by conspiring men and devious cabals with impossible-to-fathom aims.”
I take it a bit further at the Rap Sheet: “That could serve as a kind of mission statement for the Hector Lassiter series — novels exploring the artistic tradition and romanticism as the clandestine catalyst for real events. I’ve come to believe that in some cases, one can come closer to ‘truth’ through the vehicle of fiction than biography.”
PRINT THE LEGEND partly explores the legend of Hemingway’s life and writing, as well as the circumstances of his death, in July, 1961.
The truth is that history sometimes lies. Received wisdom can be a very treacherous thing.
As Hemingway’s finest biographer, Michael S. Reynolds noted, “Sooner or later it happens to all biographers… Suddenly the biographer realizes that he’s never seen this man before. The man he knows exists only on paper….Then does the biographer know despair…and after a proper pause, go existentially on with his work, understanding for the first time the limits of his genre and the fictive nature of his trade.”
You can read the Rap Sheet guest column here.