“The cat is dead. Minnie. Minnie is dead....The snow is coming down harder now than at any time during the day. Upon all the living and the dead.” Thus begins Fiction and the Facts of Life: with a loss, some humor, and a reference to James Joyce. The narrator, Rachel, is a writer who is coming to terms with her art and her life. After the cat dies, she goes for solace to her oldest friend, but the friend is more interested in complaining about how she was portrayed in Rachel’s most recent book: “I always knew that was the way you saw me, Rebecca says, her voice choked with pain.“It's fiction.”“Ha!”“If I did you with the depth and complexity you deserve, there'd have been no room left for anything else, like me. I'm not writing your biography, you know.’”And so the book is off and running: sadness, the mixing of the facts of life with invention, of the vicissitudes of memory with the surprising changes of time passing. In the course of the novel, we see Rachel drafting a new novel--which gradually takes over the story--so we get Rachel’s life, past and present, and the book Rachel is currently writing. It’s all full of love, life, sex, memory factual and fictional– told with deep insight, humor and wit.
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