Saturday, March 08, 2008


Wolves: Not So Good at Child Care After All

A little trip down memory lane to a Weekend Stubble posting in May 22, 2005 about Misha Defonseca:

Cared for by a pack of wolves?


... I see that the book is also selling well under the title Surviving With Wolves on Amazon UK -- though, oddly, I don't see any newspaper coverage or reviews of it over there, either. Incidentally: has there ever been an actual substantiated case of a child being tended to by wolves? I mean, outside of Kipling stories?

Just wondering.

Well, I need wonder no more.

The small avalanche of faked memoir stories this week probably have as much to do with (ahem) pack reporting as with any sort of zeitgeist. The Australian's ongoing coverage of Ishmael Beah has around for a while with little traction; in fact, I was stunned a couple weeks ago to find them reporting a PSU colleague's discussion in Portland about the book's veracity. Why was I stunned? Because not only hadn't the Oregonian covered it, even the PSU campus newspaper hadn't run anything on it.

After Thursday's lengthy Slate piece on the alleged discrepancies, I suspect that situation will change.

In the mean time, the most extraordinary angle of the Defonseca case might not be the shockingly silly fiction that she used -- yes, and then magical unicorns carried me over the Swiss border! -- but that it was her own publisher who went after her with a blog asking for leads on the author's true identity....

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