A Dutch scholar/novelist wrote me yesterday saying he was uncomfortable with my mixture of fact and fiction in my new novel Vienna Triangle about the early days of the psychoanalytic movement and Freud's role in the death of his brilliant disciple Viktor Tausk. The scholar/novelist points out that I not only re-animate the child Tausk and his fiancee never had--she aborted her baby--and create a new branch of the family but change the profession of Tausk's son. He wanted to know--this wasn't an attack-- what guided me when I was transforming Tausk's story into fiction.
Well, I had just finished reading Thomans Mann's Lotte in Weimar. Mann's novel shows convincingly how Goethe sucked the life out of the people around him, his son, his secretary among others and used them for his own purposes. It struck me that maybe genius doesn't tolerate the flowering of lesser talent in its vicinity. I wondered if something similar had happened in the case of Freud and Tausk. That was my initial impulse and everything else followed. When, in order to make my two plots mesh seamlessly, I invented a surviving grandchild for Tausk, I didn't feel as if I was taking anything away from the story of his relations with Freud and in my afterword I carefully distinguished for the reader between what was fact (or my interpretation of fact) and what was fiction.
I'd love to hear some other examples of mixed genres from you.
Causes Brenda Webster Supports
Doctors Without Borders
The Nature Conservancy
Women Support Women