2006_01_authors.jpgWow, Gothamist takes a break to re-read The Chronicle of Narnia and suddenly contemporary literature is rocked! The big stories: The Smoking Gun's expose on bestselling author James Frey's lie-laden memoir (and Oprah book), A Million Little Pieces, and the NY Times'investigation in JT Leroy, revealing he doesn't quite exist! Next, we'll find out JK Rowling is a marketing scheme cooked up by the British government! The Smoking Gun's article about Frey's lies seems so thorough that TSG will certainly be able to write the Cliff's Note for it. Sure, it's a compelling story, and sure, some writers embellish their memories...but embellishing whole parts? Wil this drive Frey fan Lindsay Lohan back to the brink? Now, all the 2003 blustering about people wanting to kick the crap out of Frey makes even more sense - remember Neal Pollack's issues with James Frey? And Jonathan Franzen must be looking pretty good to Oprah now.

The NY Times' JT Leroy story seems inspired by Stephen Beachy's New York magazine feature on who JT Leroy is. Beachy proposed that Leroy, who said he was the son of a prostitute who hustled him onto the streets and turned into a beloved author with cult following and famous friends (and lately claimed he had HIV), was actually the creation of a couple, Laura Albert and Geoffrey Knoop, and the Times' Warren St. John says that Knoop's sister Savannah was the one who essentially "played" JT Leroy at various events. Aha - so that's why Asia Argento, who directed and starred in an adaptation of Leroy's book, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things,was never really pregnant with Leroy's baby. And we guess the Times is trying to play catchup with its writers' and contributors' writing habits - JT Leroy wrote an article for the Times' T magazine last fall about Disneyland Paris; expenses and questions with hotel staffs there helped the Times realize he might not exist! Dunh dunh dunh.

Have you read Frey or Leroy? What do think of the news? Gothamist would appreciate someone creating a diagram and/or timeline to help us understand these literary shams. And as Beachy's feature noted, this is totally The Night Listener, which is now a movie.