“...[H]ere is the genius of this little book, for as it progresses, D'Agata and Fingal turn everything around on us, until even our most basic assumptions are left unclear. Who says writers owe readers anything? Or that genre, such as it is, is a valid lens through which to consider literary work? ...[T]he book is "an enactment of the experience of trying to find meaning"— a vivid and reflective meditation on the nature of nonfiction as literary art.” (David L. Ulin - L.A. Times)
“A fascinating and dramatic power struggle over the intriguing question of what nonfiction should, or can, be.” (Lydia Davis)
“Very à propos in our era of spruced-up autobiography and fabricated reporting, this is a whip-smart, mordantly funny, thought-provoking rumination on journalistic responsibility and literary license.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A singularly important meditation on fact and fiction, the imagination and life, fidelity and freedom. Provocative, maddening, and compulsively readable, The Lifespan of a Fact pulses through a forest of detail to illuminate high-stakes, age-old questions about art and ethics—questions to which the book (blessedly!) provides no easy answers.” (Maggie Nelson)
“...The Lifespan of a Fact... is less a book than a knock-down, drag-out fight between two tenacious combatants, over questions of truth, belief, history, myth, memory and forgetting.” (Jennifer McDonald - New York Times Book Review)
“A riveting essay delving into the arcane yet entertaining debate within the writing community over the relationship between truth and accuracy when writing creative nonfiction....” (Kirkus Reviews)
“...Thus begins the alternately absorbing and infuriating exercise that is the book The Lifespan of a Fact, a Talmudically arranged account of the conflict between Jim Fingal, zealous checker, and John D’Agata, nonfiction fabulist, which began in 2005 and resulted in this collaboration.” (Gideon Lewis-Kraus - New York Times Magazine)
“If you like compelling, emotional stories set in wild, business-friendly locales, this book delivers.” (Daniel Roberts - Fortune Magazine)
John D’Agata is the author of About a Mountain, Halls of Fame and editor of The Next American Essay and The Lost Origins of the Essay. He teaches creative writing at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he lives.
Jim Fingal is now a software engineer and writer in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
As a journalism major, I found the idea of the conflict between these two kinds of "truths" to be very interesting. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Margaret Carmel
This is not a book. It is an excuse for a book. The entire essay should have been presented right at the beginning so the reader can go through it and understand both the form... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Allison
The concept of this book is cool. I purchased it to use in my English Composition course, but it doesn't really seem to go beyond the examples of factual inaccuracy/fact checking. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ryler Dustin
Theway the book is organized is not like a normal book. The center of the page has a famous essay by D'Agada and the text outside the center is the conversation between d'Agada and... Read morePublished 18 months ago by erik Castillo
I can't decide if this little satire serves as a thought provoking exercise on what is knowable OR goes too far and winds up slyly justifying, and yet apologizing for, sloppy... Read morePublished 19 months ago by hh
I got this book as a requirement for my journalism class, and it's actually a remarkably written book. It's written in a very different format, but I loved itPublished 19 months ago by Sarah Miller
This book has been pretty hilariously interpreted as an attempt by the author to get you to agree with him that facts are silly and unnecessary things. Read morePublished 20 months ago by k lewis loess
John D'Agata wrote a nonfiction story on the suicide of a Las Vegas teenager named Levi Presley. Following standard journalistic procedures, the magazine who had commissioned the... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Peter S. Bradley
Required text for a class... but I actually enjoyed it. Very dry humor as well as an interesting "news" piece to follow. It's amazing to see what can get published.Published 24 months ago by jess s.