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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Look It Up or Make It Up?

Lian Hearn is an example of an author who gives historical fiction a freeing twist.  For her Otori novels, which are technically fantasy in genre, she invented a place that's almost samurai-era Japan, but not quite. 

Hearn got a big ol' grant to go live in Japan to do research (kudos, Lian!), but then made up her own reality.  So if certain things in her books weren't really so in history, it didn't matter.  There was no way to call her on it, because it was not intended to be the real Japan.  Yet, because her invented world has so much detail based on research of Japan, it feels very believable to the reader.  This approach also allowed her to add just a tinge of the magical to the stories. Clever, clever!

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