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February 5, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
Philip Roth, one of America's most lauded novelists, has quit writing fiction. The 80-year-old has said it before, and he said it again in an interview published this week on Stanford's website. "I haven't written a word of fiction since 2009. I have no desire to write fiction. I did what I did and it's done," Roth said. Roth is a two-time winner of the National Book Award, for "Goodbye Columbus" in 1960 and "Sabbath's Theater" in 1995. That 35-year range hints at the quantity -- and quality -- of his writing.
September 29, 2011
COMEDY Jerry Stahl, Leslie Schott, La Cholita and many other writers and burlesque performers read from a bodice-ripping catalog of once-outlawed sexy fiction. "The Story of O," "Tropic of Cancer," "Lolita" and others get their most eyebrow-raising passages highlighted. The Comedy Store, 8433 W. Sunset Blvd., L.A. 7 p.m. Fri. $10.
June 28, 2010 | By Carolyn Kellogg, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Put down that dragon tattoo girl. Stop catching up with Bree Tanner. You don't need any help from Kathryn Stockett. Forget about the latest from Scott Turow or David Mitchell or Charlaine Harris or Paul Auster or Rick Riordan or Stephen King. Novels are over. Fiction is dead. Here we go again. Every few years someone declares fiction dead, despite all evidence to the contrary. This time, it's Lee Siegel in the New York Observer, reacting to the New Yorker's recent issue announcing the 20 best American novelists younger than 40. Siegel flogs a tired horse, arguing that fiction is less central to the culture than it was in the 1950s and 1960s, and not as good.
December 4, 2013 | Robin Abcarian
Remember when that Simi Valley pastor caused a minor stir when he tweeted that Costco had labeled the Bible fiction ? And how Fox Nation tried, but just couldn't make the simple error into another faux cause for outrage? Costco said its distributor made the mistake, and vowed never to mislabel the Good Book again, which pretty much put an end to the kerfuffle. But a few days later, I got an email from Jennifer Sjoberg, who shops at the Costco in Fresno. "Personally, I think the Bible is fiction," Sjoberg told me. But she was incensed that the store had the nerve to apply the fiction label to Solomon Northup's memoir “12 Years a Slave,” which she bought for her son who is studying slavery and the Civil War. That literary work, of course, is the true tale of a free black man who was sold into slavery and the inspiration for Steve McQueen's justly lauded new film of the same name.
June 14, 2004
Re "Film and Election Politics Cross in 'Fahrenheit 9/11,' " June 11: Unconcerned about public reaction to Michael Moore's admittedly biased movie "Fahrenheit 9/11," Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel is quoted as saying, "Voters know fact from fiction coming from Hollywood." The question is, come November, will they know fact from fiction coming from Washington? Rick Mittleman Palm Desert
April 18, 2010 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Nothing Happened and Then It Did A Chronicle in Fact and Fiction Jake Silverstein W.W. Norton: 232 pp., $23.95 People who know Jake Silverstein may be surprised to discover upon reading "Nothing Happened and Then It Did" that he helped find pirate booty in a Louisiana bayou, competed in a poetry competition, spent days with a Mexican American businessman working on a story that he had no hope of ever writing and once...
September 12, 2013 | By Sheri Linden
Chances are good that Harry Dean Stanton, the prolific character actor with the face of a backwoods prophet, will be the subject of a straightforward career-retrospective documentary someday. For now we have something that's more in tune with the man: Sophie Huber's lyrical and enigmatic portrait, "Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction. " At the film's heart is a fitful conversation that unfolds like a string of koans, epigrams, jokes and silences. And songs. A reluctant interviewee with no interest in biographical facts, Stanton would rather sing than yak. The unrepentant loner says he's "not psychologically wired for institutions"; nonetheless, within the moviemaking system he's amassed 200-plus film credits and counting.
January 18, 2004
Re Marshall Herskovitz's letter on Manohla Dargis' piece on historical accuracy in films (Letters, Jan. 11): All fiction is not "lies." One of the purposes of imaginative literature is to illuminate life, to tell truths. The films in question clearly aspire to such things. And politics and history are part and parcel of the stories they seek to tell. It's the job of the critic to note when they come up short, as well as when they succeed. "Muddling through" these films is exactly the problem.
February 2, 1986 | Pat H. Broeske
The special-effects character played by Bryan Brown in "F/X" has worked on some odd-sounding movies--like "Vermin From Venus," "I Dismember Mama" and "Rock-a-Die Baby." Frighteningly, two of those gruesome titles aren't fictional. According to director Robert Mandel, Thomas Pope, who worked on a revision of the "F/X" script, slipped in the nod to "Rock-a-Die-Baby." It's a blast from Pope's past (he wrote it) that was filmed in 1975.
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