Accidental non-fiction

A narrative text sets out the romantic but tumultuous journey of A. and B. as their true affection for one another, masked by entrenched animosity, dawns. The author has invented the story, and the usual blurb appears on an early page: ‘Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.’ In this case, though there is no deceit in the issuing of this notice, the resemblance to real persons is uncanny. People of the same names, A. and B. live nearby, their own rocky course towards eventual matrimony mirrors so precisely the details inscribed on the novel’s pages that its every proposition turns out true. This is not the product of a literary stalking: the book incorporates the individual mental lives of the protagonists, their unobserved, even unconscious actions while alone. The correspondence between text and events and persons living is, as the disclaimer pledges, purely coincidental.

These last details indicate as well the remote chance of the discovery of the text’s factual accuracy, its accidental non-fictionality. In the event that the actual-world A. or B., or perhaps a close acquaintance of theirs, light upon the novel, the correlation might be made between the claims made in the text and what has in truth occurred. Otherwise, the text’s fictionality might never be called into question. Its author has committed no fraud, penning a work that she believes contains no word of truth concerning any actual events.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *