Anne Galloway on Bruce Chatwin’s The Songlines

Anne Galloway writes:

Unlike Calvino with his “Invisible Cities,” Chatwin presents his story as if it were anthropological fact. Australian Aboriginees have repeatedly complained that Chatwin didn’t actually spend much time with them, and the stories he shares were not actual conversations. This isn’t the first time that writers – or anthropologists – have blurred the line between fiction and ethnography. Carlos Castaneda became (in)famous for making it all up. And certainly, it doesn’t render their work useless or uninteresting or ugly. But it does change it – and what we can do with it.

I was unaware of this. Bear this in mind if you read this book. It’s still a great one, but I’m slightly confused what to make of it. (See my previous post on the book.)

The above was posted to my personal weblog on June 1, 2004. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.


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