The Write Question
10:42 am
Thu April 25, 2013

Pam Houston Draws a Fine Line Between Fiction and Nonfiction

During this program, Chérie Newman talks with Pam Houston about her book Contents May Have Shifted, a novel which Houston admits is about 87% true. So why didn't she publish it as a memoir? Newman wants to know. The answer has to do with the public's perception of truth and, of course, publishing industry lawyers.

About Contents May Have Shifted:

Stuck in a dead-end relationship, this fearless narrator leaves her metaphorical baggage behind and finds a comfort zone in the air, “feeling safest with one plane ticket in her hand and another in her underwear drawer.”

She flies around the world, finding reasons to love life in dozens of far-flung places from Alaska to Bhutan. Along the way she weathers unplanned losses of altitude, air pressure, and landing gear. With the help of a squad of loyal, funny, wise friends and massage therapists, she learns to sort truth from self-deception, self-involvement from self-possession.

At last, having found a new partner “who loves Don DeLillo and the NHL” and a daughter “who needs you to teach her to dive and to laugh at herself” — not to mention two dogs and two horses — “staying home becomes more of an option. Maybe.”

During this interview, Pam mentions a piece she wrote titled "Corn Maze." Here's a link to that essay: http://www.hungermtn.org/corn-maze/

Find out more about Pam Houston and her books, and listen to the program on the radio or online.

Pam Houston

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Pam Houston reads from her novel, 'Contents May Have Shifted,' and talks about the fine line between fiction and nonfiction.

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