- She's Turned This Bookstore Into a House of Lies! Of course you've heard by now, certainly, that highly touted first-time author Margaret B. Jones was outed as a big, fat, silly, stupid liar.
The New York Times reports that Love and Consequences, Jones's "deeply affecting and provocative memoir of trouble and triumph in Los Angeles's most dangerous streets," is a pack of lies and Jones is the alpha liar of the pack.
In Love and Consequences, a critically acclaimed memoir published last week, Margaret B. Jones wrote about her life as a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up in South-Central Los Angeles as a foster child among gang-bangers, running drugs for the Bloods.
Margaret B. Jones is a pseudonym for Margaret Seltzer, who is all white and grew up in the well-to-do Sherman Oaks section of Los Angeles, in the San Fernando Valley, with her biological family. She graduated from the Campbell Hall School, a private Episcopal day school in the North Hollywood neighborhood. She has never lived with a foster family, nor did she run drugs for any gang members. Nor did she graduate from the University of Oregon, as she had claimed.
Riverhead Books, the unit of Penguin Group USA that published Love and Consequences, is recalling all copies of the book and has canceled Ms. Seltzer's book tour, which was scheduled to start on Monday in Eugene, Ore., where she currently lives.
I can't decide which is the best part: that Seltzer's older sister outed her as a hoax, or that Seltzer claims she had a mandate to lie:
"I was in a position where at one point people said you should speak for us because nobody else is going to let us in to talk. Maybe it's an ego thing — I don't know. I just felt that there was good that I could do and there was no other way that someone would listen to it."
Or maybe it's a crazy thing. That's possible, huh? Like, maybe a little God-like voice came to her and said, "Lie for all the poor people, Margaret — you must save all the minorities with this one book full of lies! ONLY YOU CAN DO IT!!!"
Sorry, dear readers — you can't buy the book from our website, as we've pulled all the copies from our stock. BUT! Through the magic of the blog, you can WIN an advanced copy of the hoaxoir to read aloud and laugh at with your friends!
Just leave a comment below with the most blatant untruth about your own life that you can concoct. I won't promise a publisher will see it and sign you to a seven-figure contract without checking a single thing you've written — but it appears to be entirely possible.
This Friday, March 7, at 12 noon PST I'll pick one random
liepowerful, moving testament to the human condition, and send the liarhero an ARC of Love and Consequences.
Feel free to snigger at it, write snarky comments in the margins, or hang the individual pages from your ceiling as a Lie Mobile.
Related: Gawker points out some interesting connections to the New York Times that should raise a few eyebrows over at the Grey Lady — where I'll bet eyebrows are already arching toward the ceiling.
- Bound for Glory: One work we're quite secure is fiction (since it bills itself as such) is Hillary Jordan's novel Mudbound, which has just been unveiled as the second volume in Powell's new Indiespensable subscription program.
Winner of the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, Mudbound is storytelling at the height of its powers: "the ache of wrongs not yet made right, the fierce attendance of history made real" (Barbara Kingsolver), as men and women from two families become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale.
"Mudbound, an ambitious and affecting debut, may very well become a staple of syllabi for courses in Southern literature. It is accessible, engaging and spiked with suspense." — Paste magazine
Sign up for Indiespensable and get your special edition of Mudbound before they're all sold out!
- Big Winner: Young aspiring writers should take a gander at the Dylan Thomas Prize, whose £60,000 (about $120,000 U.S.) award will go to one lucky writer. Says Publishers Weekly:
Awarded every two years, the Dylan Thomas Prize is intended to honor "the best published writer in English under the age of 30 from anywhere in the world." It is open to any literary work — poetry, fiction, screenplays, film scripts — published in English by a writer 18-30 years old.
A word to all white people: if you want to write a story about how you're going to singlehandedly save all disenfranchised minorities trapped in inner city ghettos, please be sure to correctly categorize it as "fiction." Saves time and embarrassment down the road.
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Brockman is the head writer for the daily Book News posts on the Powells.com blog. In his free time he's hard at work on his fictional memoir, which changes titles daily.
The views and commentary posted by Brockman are entirely his own, and are not representative of the whole of Powell's Books, its employees, or any sane human being.
Books mentioned in this post