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Granta 66: Truth and Lies by Ian Jack

Granta 66: Truth and Lies

by Ian Jack (Editor)

Other authors: Jillian Edelstein (Contributor), William Fiennes (Contributor), Elena Lappin (Contributor), Adewale Maja-Pearce (Contributor), Javier Marías (Contributor)3 more, Claire Messud (Contributor), Jayne Anne Phillips (Contributor), Stacey Richter (Contributor)

Series: Granta (66)

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1401134,805 (3.72)5
This issue includes the original expose, by Elena Lappin, of Binjamin Wilomirski's bogus Holocaust memoir which William Sutcliffe described in the Independent on Sunday as "the most gripping thing I read this year." Photographer Jillian Edelstein reports on the painful process of truth-telling in South Africa. Also: fiction by Jayne Anne Phillips, Claire Messud, Stacey Richter, and Javier Marias.… (more)
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Much of Granta's success as the Anglo-American fiction and journalism magazine of choice rests upon its Best of Young British Novelists issues, which appear every 10 years and feature an editorial board's selection of 20 British fiction writers under the age of 40. The first two issues, published in 1983 and 1993, included the likes of Julian Barnes, Salman Rushdie, Pat Barker, Martin Amis, Jeanette Winterson, Will Self and Ian McEwan. These anthologies have become a passport to success for young British authors.

Whether the 2003 issue will prove as prophetic as its predecessors remains to be seen. It includes some wonderful writing--Ben Rice's story of marital crises among Koi fanciers, "Look at Me, I'm Beautiful!" is particularly memorable--and some uneven ventures, such as AL Kennedy's "Room 506" a novel excerpt narrated by a chronic amnesiac, and Hari Kunzru's "Lila.exe" an account of the development of a Bollywood-inspired computer virus.

Regular Granta readers will recognise a number of the featured writers, including contributing editor Andrew O'Hagan. Most of these authors have yet to attain worldwide fame, although the ubiquitous Zadie Smith is represented with an excellent short story. The scope of the issue generally lies within Granta's house style--well-written, somewhat conservative realist fiction--although there are a few excursions into weirder territory, such as Toby Litt's baroque essay-story, "The Hare" and Robert McLiam Wilson's magic realist "The Dreamed" in which war dead are rematerialised and resurrected in the bed of an aging English man.

The practice of showcasing novelists through a selection of short stories, novel excerpts and works-in-progress is obviously a compromise, as only those writers who are particularly skilled at short fiction will be seen at their best. Teasers are never as satisfying as completed works and a few contributors--such as Sarah Waters and Alan Warner--don't come off as well as they might, simply because their excerpts cry out for context. Anyone who is particularly interested in new British fiction would do well to regard this issue as a reading list, not a representative anthology, even though a number of delights are to be found within. --Jack Illingworth, Amazon.ca

In 1996 Benjamin Wilkomirski published his powerful account of a childhood spent in Hitler's death-camps. But was it true? Is the truth that he was a Swiss boy with an over-developed imagination, making his book a shocking fraud? In a long investigation Elena Lappin has examined the evidence against him.
  antimuzak | Dec 6, 2005 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jack, IanEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Edelstein, JillianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fiennes, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lappin, ElenaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maja-Pearce, AdewaleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Marías, JavierContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Messud, ClaireContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Phillips, Jayne AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Richter, StaceyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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