The Truth Is Out There

Flying back to Toronto on a quick pre-Christmas visit I eschewed all media entertainment and instead read this:


The novel was an enjoyable read in which flapper Louise Brooks plays second fiddle to Cora Carlisle, her chaperone on a summer trip to New York. While the teenage Brooks did spend a chaperoned summer in New York, Cora Carlisle is a fictional character and much of the novel is devoted to her life; that of Louise Brooks is mostly background accompaniment.

But as much as I enjoyed the novel, its lasting effect is that I am now desperate to read this:

Front Cover

Does fiction lead you to memoir?

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19 thoughts on “The Truth Is Out There

  1. While you were here I read The Chaperone and found I could not put it down. The generosity of the main character, her search for love, and the historical detail were wonderful. Annie

  2. I listened to this as an audiobook read by Elizabeth McGovern (and just now I am making the connection that she plays a different Cora on Downton Abbey….interesting coincidence). I recommend it…the novel has a compelling story. Cora pushes herself to do something that doesn’t fit with “her life” and really comes into her own…influenced by Louise of course but more by that summer in NYC. Look for the movie someday. As to the question, I think fiction can lead to memoir but, far more often, life’s experiences and how we remember them lead to fiction.

    • Yes, Cora definitely evolves over the course of the novel. I bet Elizabeth McGovern was a good narrator. I just finished listening to The Private Patient by the prolific PD James and I did not like the narrator in the least. I wasn’t crazy about the book either and I’m always left wondering in these situations if the narrator is in some way to blame.

      • One of my former colleagues gave me the best line about PD James (who I have read as soon as I was old enough to want to steal them from my mother): “There’s a difference between stilted characters and stilted writing.” And once we got to Pemberley, I vowed never to read her again.

    • I listened to the audio version, too, and really enjoyed it. I’ve actually considered listening to it a second time. The book didn’t lead me to memoir, but to Google. I spent some time researching Louise Brooks and looking at photos of her online. Now I’m going to look for Lulu.

  3. i can’t believe you were in Toronto and didn’t drive the seven hundred miles to see me! How often are we in the same hemisphere?

    I prefer biographies to memoirs, mostly . . . I was frightened by Mommy Dearest at a young age and never fully recovered. But I’ve often gone looking for more about the Real People who appear in fiction.

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