Based on a True Story

by Delphine de Vigan

This tour de force of metafiction defies the reader to work out what is autobiographical and what is invented. The narrator is apparently suffering from writer’s block and is gradually losing her identity to a mysterious professional ghost writer named only as ‘L’. Spot the literary clues scattered throughout the text and you may be able to solve the puzzle.


Fiction is over for you novelists ... Why do you think readers and critics wonder about the autobiographical element in literary works? Because today that’s its sole raison d’être: to give an account of reality, to tell the truth. The rest doesn’t matter. That’s what readers expect of novelists: that they’ll lay their guts out on the table.

Translated by George Miller


First Person by Richard Flanagan
Mother Land by Paul Theroux

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