Wednesday, August 13, 2008

David Effin' Grann

David Grann is one of the three or four best writers working today--his stuff is an unmitigated joy to read. Seriously, think of how rarely you actually get excited by a byline. His new piece is routinely brilliant.

(Don't forget, The Lost City of Z comes out in February!)

But Galley Friend D.S. sends in a keen observation:

I was just reading David Grann's latest essay in the New Yorker. It's about a sort of con man named Frederic Bourdin, who, oddly enough, adopts the identities of young wayward boys. And the article quotes a notebook Bourdin keeps, in which he muses on his fate and his own chameleon-like nature. Anyway, a line from the notebook is used as a caption beneath a photo of Bourdin. "Bourdin once wrote, 'When you fight monsters, be careful . . . you do not become one.'" He should also be careful not to become a plagiarist as that very famous line was written Friedrich Nietzsche. It's funny that the New Yorker missed this; and it's funny that the con man should even in his own diaries pretend he is someone he is not.

Anyway, Grann's article is, as usual, not to be missed.

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