I once met an older Polish woman in New York who was writing her first novel. It was semi-autobiographical, she explained, and as such concerned the Holocaust. Having recently read several terrific novels on that subject—The Painted Bird by Jerzy Kosinski, Anya by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer—I of course asked if she knew them. “No,” she replied. “But I doubt any convey the full horror of this event.” I then timidly asked if any single work of fiction could do such a thing. “Well,” she pondered, “if I can’t do it in one, I’ll have to write two.”
In Bright Shiny Morning, James Frey tries to convey the full horror of Los Angeles. He does so by writing four, possibly five books, four of them current-day romances, one—apparently for context—a history of the place.
more from n+1 here.