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by Irene Nemirovsky
June is overflowing with matrimony -- but it's also the home of another modern ritual, graduation day -- or, as it's more evocatively known, commencement, an ending that's a beginning.
No matter how liberal we consider ourselves about the slippery line between memoir and autobiographical fiction – even if we are more Exley than Oprah on the matter – there is still something that seems suspicious about the enterprise of full-on fictional memoir. Is this allowable? Can one simply jump in and narrate the course of another person’s life. Perhaps – if you do it right.
Notes on the French novelist Irène Némirovsky, her "violent masterpiece" Suite Française, and the imaginary memoir written by her daughter.
It's probably its hospitality to debate that makes the "Best Of" list so popular in the first place. One can agree - yes! great list! - or dissent - Where is x? Why no y? - or inveigh against list-making itself, but in any case, the list holds up a mirror to one's own preoccupations. As with any mirror, it is fearsomely hard to look away.