Vanity Fair has an interview with A Million Little Pieces author James Frey – his first major one since his notorious appearance on Oprah’s show in 2006, and his last for a while, at least according to Vanity Fair. The magazine – as is its right – pumps up the “butterfly broken on the wheel” aspect of the story and comes on like a 1930s noir tell-all:
The story of what really happened with A Million Little Pieces has not been told in its full complexity. Owing to a non-disclosure agreement between Frey and Random House (which owns Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, the imprint that published it), neither he nor the publishing house can speak about what happened. But an investigation by Vanity Fair suggests that the story is significantly more complicated than Man Cons World. There were no fake Web sites, no wigs worn, no relatives pretending to be spokesmen for nonexistent corporations. It is the story, first, of a literary genre in which publishers thought they had found the surefire recipe for success, but one with such dangerously combustible ingredients that it could explode at any moment. On the one hand, memoirs have often been afforded a certain poetic license to stray from absolute truth in the interest of storytelling. On the other, they have the appeal of the real. Over the years, the marketplace hungered for more of both. Give us more drama! And tell us it’s all true! The publishing world responded, pumping up both. It was inevitable that one day the mixture would blow up in someone’s face. Frey had the right story to tell, the talent to get heard, the soaring ambition, and the right professional champions hungry for a hit.