Fact-Checking His Own Memoir

You don’t see this every day: a memoirist questioning his own veracity (“Times Columnist Uncovers His Darkest Story,” by Howard Kurtz, Washington Post). The author is David Carr and the book is The Night of the Gun.

But recounting exactly what happened is another story, which is why he uses the approach of interviewing people from his dark past, many from the mid-1980s. Carr recognizes that “the meme of abasement followed by salvation is a durable device in literature,” but life is invariably more complicated. “Can I tell you a true story about the worst day of my life? No,” he writes.

On that day, he recalls, his friend Donald, during a drug-induced argument, pulled a gun on him. Except that he tracked down Donald, who swears it was Carr who brandished the .38 special, and another friend who knew where Carr kept the weapon stashed. If Carr was wrong about that, he wonders, what else was he wrong about?

(Vanessa Bush’s review of Night of the Gun will appear in the August issue of Booklist. She likes it.)

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About the Author:

Keir Graff is the editor of Booklist Online and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix.

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