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A Thin Line Between Fact and Fiction: An Excerpt from A Fountain in France by Marita van der Vyver

A Fountain in FrancePenguin Books shared an excerpt from A Fountain in France by Marita van der Vyver.

A Fountain in France was released in February this year and Van der Vyver flew all the way from her home in Provençe to launch her new book at The Alliance Française in Cape Town.

In the following extract Van der Vyver ponders the nature of her books that have on occasion been labelled as “novels”. She writes about the thin line between fiction and non-fiction and shares her husband and son’s suggestions for appropriate genres.

Read the excerpt:

Tell them under thrillers, Alain suggests. With all the catastrophes and calamities that have been visited on our household, we could be something out of Stephen King’s imagination. No, fantasy, rather, my son reckons. ‘The Addams Family. That’s how you make us seem, Mom.’

If I must be completely honest, I have no idea either on which shelf A Fountain in France belongs. Not in DIY, that much is certain, even if the title may suggest a book about homes and gardens. But nor is it an autobiography. Readers who are hoping to find sensational secrets from my dark past will be profoundly disappointed. Good autobiographical writing demands absolute honesty – something that just happens to be easier if most of the people you are writing about are already dead. Put another way, I am not yet old enough for an honest autobiography. And nor is it a travelogue. Granted it is set in a region that to most South African readers must seem exotically distant and alluring, but I am not a traveller in this region. I have lived in Provençe for close to two decades; it’s where my daughter was born and where my son went to school.

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