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How David Carr may have redefined the memoir
An author hires a reporter to help reconstruct his years as a crack addict
 

It’s hard to know what author David Carr has done to the memoir, said Michael Weiss in Gawker. It may be that Carr, a "celebrated" New York Times columnist, brought new "journalistic rigor" to the genre by hiring a reporter to help reconstruct "his forgotten crackhead years" for his new book The Night of the Gun. Then again, maybe he just baptized the next "big thing in literary narcissism."

The Night of the Gun is an “important” book, said Leon Neyfakh in The New York Observer, one that makes “every effort” to “reconstruct” the truth. And “at a time when the idea that facts actually matter seems to have disappeared into the vortex of the Bush Administration, James Frey and Margaret Jones, it is, unmistakably, a rallying cry.”

But if we’re really going to tout Carr as the savior of the memoir, said Dan Kois and Lane Brown in New York magazine’s blog Vulture, “are we going to demand that his method be followed by every memoirist from now on?” Many of the best memoirs are the ones “that artfully exploit the uncertainty of memory—not ruthlessly (and admirably) expose it.”

 

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