Thanks Gary, I realize that the question is a problem but I don't know who to address it to. Roman à clef sounds more interesting, I guess if you don't speak French. If a Roman à clef is accepted where actual persons and events are disguised as fictitious then it is basically a memoir, right?
James Frey who wrote A Million Little Pieces supposedly was advised to market his book as a memoir but then was subject to a class action because readers felt cheated when it was discovered he lied. This to me sound like sci-fi but I guess they're right
Here is a vast list of Fake Memoirs from wikipedia. It's been around for quite awhile.
Can anyone suggest some roman à clef examples?
No, a roman à clef doesn't have to be a memoir. If you'll check the Wikipedia article on it, you'll find that (among many other examples) the first Philo Vance novel was a roman à clef, offering a possible explanation of an unsolved murder. (an actual locked door, murder, at that) AFAIK, the author was neither involved in the murder or a character in the book.
I've started a fake memoir, in fact. Haven't worked on it in awhile, but I intend to get back to it one of these days.
A few years ago, a family member wrote a memoir that is 99% fiction. She loves to see herself as a victim, and the book is her own distorted version of events and other people. She had to get her rage out of her system, I suppose. That narcissistic mindset fascinates me much more than anything she had to say, since most of what she wrote is false (but true to her). I think most memoirs are, in fact, a combination of fiction and fact, since it's the writer's subjective take on events. So many believe the world would find their lives so interesting that they'd want to read an entire book about it, and that points to delusion (or, fiction, as their starting place) right there. I find most memoirs excruciatingly dull.
Fake memoirs interest me much more. They're much closer to the truth.
Last edited by Liza B.; 07-30-2011 at 12:52 PM.
Just before checking back here I looked at the wiki article first in French, the English version is much better. It's notable that Madeleine de Scudéry invented this way back in the seventeenth century and women weren't allowed to write back then, at least publicly. I thought it interesting, but of the topic, that she wrote a book Artamène, which contains about 2.1 million words, (from Wiikipedia) Give that to a publisher! The English article on her is a poor translation of the French one.
Several authors have used this sub-genre, roman à clef, for autobiographical stories. Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar is autobiographical, Kerouac
I guess the question I have is can a book be marketed with the words Fake Memoir. Using the term, roman à clef, for a fictionalization of an autobiographical story to save the author from libel is like calling a computer print a glycee.
Use a foreign word and it's okay.
Gotta go with the flow. I'm not going to knock it.
Fake Memoir is perhaps more up to date, the didn't have Kindles 350 years ago.
Sorry it is not a key romance but a novel with the key being the fictionalization of events and persons to safe the author from eventual court cases or floggings.
I'm not sure, but calling your book a Fake Memoir might put people off. It might be better to say that it's a novel in the form of a memoir, as are the highly popular Flashman novels by Frasier.
I want to thank everyone that responded to this thread, through this I've found how to classify my MS; definitely a fiction with the sub genre Roman à clef. If publishers ever adopt the term Fake Memoir for whatever reason they'll have plenty of published authors and personalities to choose from.