Fallen Idols: Disappointing Truths About Five Famous Authors


Now you can say it doesn't matter what an author is like as a person, it's all about the prose they create. You can say that and I will disagree. When I read Hemingway, I carry in my mental sidebar an indelible image of the man behind the prose: tweedy, moustachioed bourbon drinker; the man who liked to fish and hunt and whose idea of relaxation was to visit a bullring and watch a couple of toros bleed to death. I like authors to fit the prose they produce. Would I want to hear that Cormac McCarthy – producer of tightly worded, brutalistic fables – is actually a party pig with a penchant for soft rock and brightly colored cocktails? (He isn’t but you get my point.) No, I wouldn’t, any more than I would wish to discover that Jodi Piccoult is actually a rocket scientist with a PhD in astrophysics.

But sadly, over the years, my cherished beliefs about authors have been blown aside by the cold winds of reality and also occasionally by Wikipedia. Here are five writers for whom the truth gave me a long moment of disappointment:

Did your favs make the list?Collapse )

And after all that sharing of how wrong I can be, I'm feeling a little sweaty and ashamed. Help me out here - tell me I'm not the only one. Did you have an image of an author which failed to live up to reality? Did you think JK Rowling was a man? Or that China Mieville's mother actually called him that? Put me out of my misery and please say you did...

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