Slumming As Literature

James Piereson writes about the recent slate of faux-poor false memoirs:

Ms Seltzer, along with her partners in literary crime, deserves some credit at least for crafting a hoax that she must have known would appeal to the sentimental sensibility about the poor and downtrodden that is pervasive among reviewers at publications like the Times. It is more than a little interesting that contemporary novelists, when they stoop to such fabrications, invariably come up with harrowing stories about addiction, mental illness, sexual abuse, family dysfunction, prostitution, gang wars, and life on the run or among the down and out. On rarely hears of fabrications from the poor (or even by the rich) about life in the suburbs, boardrooms, or country clubs. Our novelists, even when they lie or especially when they lie, reveal what sells among publishers, reviewers, and contemporary readers.

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