Roy Scranton: Why Fiction Tells the Truth About WarRoundup: Media's Take
tags: Wall Street Journal, war, Roy Scranton
Roy Scranton, an Iraq veteran, was an artilleryman in the Army. He is co-editor, with Matt Gallagher, of Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War.
This week we look back and think about what it meant that we invaded Iraq ten years ago. What kind of story do we tell? What’s our narrative? It’s not an easy question, but it’s an important one, because the stories we tell about how we got where we were turn into stories about where we’re going.
Some might think this is a job strictly for history. Since 9/11, if not before, people have talked about reality outstripping fiction, as if fiction can’t keep pace with events. More, we’re all tired of government duplicity, overblown product claims, scripted reality shows, and faked memoirs. When someone tells us they’ve made something up, we’re apt to feel what David Shields called “reality hunger”: Don’t sell me the well-crafted fake, buddy, give me the real deal.
I’ve encountered something like this in talking to people about the anthology of short fiction by recent veterans (and one military spouse) that I’ve edited, “Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War.” “Why fiction?” people ask, and sometimes they mean “Why write fiction about these contentious events that have yet to be fully understood?” Other times, they mean “Why write fiction at all? Why not just tell the truth?”...
comments powered by Disqus
- Theodore Lowi, Zealous Scholar of Presidents and Liberalism, Dies at 85
- What LT. Gen. H.R. McMaster will offer as new national security adviser
- Fareed Zakaria hails historian Nigel Hamilton’s series as the memoir FDR never had the opportunity to write
- French Historian Says He Was Threatened With Deportation at Houston Airport
- McMaster knows how national security policy can go wrong. Will that help him?