The human face of conflict. war, political threat, Intifada, struggle for the good life, women and their loved ones searching for the "good life" under war. Israel, the Israel Palestinian conflict.
I thought I'd share these thoughts with you (Books and Writers). Would love to hear your thoughts on the creation of historical characters.
Geoffrey Fox • After reading all (or most of) this discusson about reconciling fiction and history, I'm wondering what others think of Thomas Pynchon's handling of this issue, in all his novels but I'm thinking especially of Mason & Dixon (though Gravity's Rainbow also had me digging into the archives to find out the true stories of the Herreros and the V-2 rockets). He clearly has a keen grasp on all the documented historical events, but feels completely free to invent slapstick (George Washington's slave is no slave but a vaudeville comedian, for example, and his comic handling of Benjamin Franklin's dealings with the torpedo — i.e., electric ray fish — go well beyond what we know of the real Franklin). It all works, for me and many readers, and the great puzzle is figuring out how much is pure invention and how much very close to real, but odd and little-known, events.
1 Batya Casper • Geoffrey,
The issue of fictionalizing historical characters out of history, so to speak, is an important one for me. Thomas Pynchon's treatment of Benjamin Franklin "going way beyond the real Franklin" is of concern to us both as writers and readers. Perhaps Pynchon could allow himself that liberty because we know Benjamin Franklin so well. We know him to the extent that changing his personality is tantamount to emphasizing it, to pointing an arrow at it, to inviting the reader to protest . "No, that can't be," we say, "we know this guy" - and then we sit back and enjoy the joke.
Such treatment, I think, would be less successful with lesser known historical characters.
Of more interest for me though, as a modern writer, is the creation of fictional characters within a historical context. For me, it is essential that such characters be what I call, "virtually correct," i.e. some kind of condensation or conglomerate, some representation of people who actually lived in my chosen time period. Many of the actions my characters take, in Israela, for example, are amalgamations of historical actions - borrowed and fictionalized in the details. I believe it is as important for the fictional characters to be true to their historical time, as actual historical figures. Otherwise, what would be the point?
Israela: secrets, lies, and alienation. Heroism. Arabs saving Jews and Jews healing Arabs in Israel. Israela: An eternal struggle for peace. Three women and their loved ones seeking the "good life" under war. The complex social structure of Israel, tradition, history, war, Intifada, and love.
Author Batya Casper.