It's been an embarrassing week in the publishing world. Less than a week after the New York Times's Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic, Michiko Kakutani, wrote a rave review about Margaret B. Jones's new memoir about growing up amid the gang culture of L.A.'s South Central, "Jones"--actually Peggy Seltzer--admitted she'd faked the whole thing. (She'd in fact been reared in middle-class comfort, with her biological parents, in the San Fernando Valley, and had attended a mostly white private high school.)
Last weekend brought the disclosure that Misha Defonseca's "heartwarming Holocaust-era tale" about being sheltered by wolves while on the run from Nazi pursuers (Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years, published in 1997 and blurbed by no less an eminence than Elie Wiesel) was, likewise, fiction. Or as Defonseca put it: "It is not the actual reality."
You'd think the raised-by-wolves part would have raised at least a few eyebrows. For me, though, the smoking gun was the name of Defonseca's ghostwriter: Vera Lee. Talk about "actual reality." Yea, verily! (Not.)
P.S. Slate associate editor Daniel Engber speculates, tongue firmly in cheeck, about the next round of fakery revelations.