I recently read “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. I found it a riveting book that was both compelling and depressing. Actually I read the book after buying it as a Christmas gift for my wife. Helen found the story equally compelling and we find our selves talking about scenes from the book on a regular basis. One of our favorite quotes from the book is: “Query: How does the never to be differ from what never was?”
Helen recommended the book to a friend of ours who had a negative reaction to both the book and its author. He sent Helen a note which described some of the apparent discrepancies in the author’s biographical history and between the authors background and the life of his characters.
Our friend’s note clarified a mental practice I have embraced for many years. I purposely try to avoid learning too much about the lives of writers of fiction. I don’t read forwards to books if they were not written by the author themselves. I want the writer’s words to be the fact of their lives. To me the biographical information about the author is the fiction. The author’s writing is the facts of their life.
I spend too much time with non-fiction to chase after facts about the writer of a perfectly good piece of fiction.