This week, Christopher at Plucked From the Stacks looks at what makes some nonfiction books ‘fictiony’, simply because the stories are so wild, they don’t seem real.
Many memoirs slip into the fictiony-nonfiction category, usually on the basis of some astounding challenge or trauma or feat. Rebel by Rahaf Mohammed and Free by Lea Ypi fit this category, both stories of daring escapes.
I find that other genres of nonfiction that read like fiction are usually on account of the exceptionally good writing. In that category, one book stands out this year – Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe. I can’t wait to read his latest, Rogues.
Also worth a mention because of the thrilling cycle of politics, and her endurance in the game, is the story of Angela Merkel in The Chancellor by Kati Marton. There’s spies, back-stabbing, and devotion – all compelling stuff.
I am always on the lookout for books with exceptionally good writing.
Free is a great choice for this prompt — in prioritizing voice and childhood perspective she did make it more like a novel than a memoir.
I love how you approached the prompt this week. The Chancellor has been on my TBR list for a while. I’ve read other Merkel biographies, but I’m a sucker for political books, so I’m sure I’ll get around to this one too … eventually.
Empire of .pain and Rogues are on my TBR, thanks for your rec’s
Interesting choices. I have Empire of Pain on my desk to read this month. From what I heard it is amazing. There are so many people out there doing extraordinary things.
Interesting that you read about our former chancellor. Maybe I should get the book, as well.
My Stranger Than Fiction post.
Fascinating selection Kate. I’m most interested in the Merkel …
So am I. I came here after seeing the cover from 2022, What I Read…
Well worth reading!
Thanks, these are great suggestions. I want to read Empire of Pain. Dopesick was also a fascinating look at the opioid epidemic but I hear great things about Keefe.