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Topic of the Week: Novelography, or Thinly Veiled Memoir August 3, 2009

Posted by Carolyn Burns Bass in fiction, novelography, women's fiction.
Karen Weinreb

Karen Weinreb

Last week’s LitChat topic was The Fine Line Between Fact and Fiction, a discussion of narrative and creative non-fiction in personal essay and memoir. We’re taking the conversation to the opposite pole this week with discussion about novels written specifically to mirror an author’s real life experience. For lack of a better word, we’ll call this autobiographical style of fiction novelography. (Adopting the term “novelography” from a Twitter post last week.)

When Karen Weinreb‘s financier husband was arrested, prosecuted and jailed for bilking millions of dollars from investors, Weinreb’s life went from society storybook to scandalous single title. Armed with two degrees in literature and a background in journalism, Weinreb pulled herself and her family through financial ruin and social ostracization.


Weinreb’s fiction debut, The Summer Kitchen (July, St. Martin’s Press), is a result of her efforts. Set in the Wall Street bedroom community of Bedford, New York, the novel portrays a family much like Weinreb’s involved in a financial scandal mirroring her husband’s. Weinreb’s stunning diorama of the country club set and private school progeny is a smart novel of manners and personal transcendence, rather than a snarky rant against those who snubbed her.

Join us Monday and Wednesday at 4 p/et for LitChat open discussion of Novelography: the Thinly Veiled Memoir, then again on Friday at the same time when Weinreb joins us to discuss her novel and the process of writing a novelography.

Follow Weinreb on Twitter at @KarenWeinreb.


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