What The Word On The Street is Reading

This week, our Programming Assistant Cailin read Voluptuous Pleasure: The Truth about the Writing Life by Marianne Apostolides, another treasure that made its way to our office this past week! It was published this Spring by BookThug.

About the Book:

Voluptuous Pleasure: The Truth about the Writing Life is a collection of non-fiction whose title states that non-fiction does not exist. These stories, by acclaimed author Marianne Apostolides, are sensuous and smart, ambiguous but incisive in their truths. Voluptuous Pleasure will take you inside brothels and bedrooms, kitchens and consciousness; it will seduce you along the limits of non-fiction, making you question the veracity of anything you’ve ever read – or even experienced.


Q & A with Cailin:

Q: What made you pick this book up?

The blurb calls it a collection of non-fiction that claims non-fiction doesn’t exist. I thought “wow, what does that mean?”, so I had to read it to find out.

Q: Did you enjoy it?

I did enjoy it. I was most interested in Apostolides’ attempt to  investigate her ancestors’ past, especially their wartime experiences in Greece. Through interviewing her father over many years, she comes to realize how difficult and painful it is to accurately portray another person’s real life through writing.

I also really liked how her interview transcripts eventually started to take on the form of a Socratic dialogue. She wants to convince her dad, and herself, that he wasn’t a coward despite never seeking revenge for his father’s murder during the war. Through the dialogue she applies logic to her argument and is forced to reconcile the inaction of his life with her definition of bravery. I thought this technique was an interesting way to approach non-fiction.

Q: Would you recommend it?

I would recommend this book to anyone who questions the possibility of making non-fiction work completely truthful.


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