Fake Out

Big controversy on the other side of the globe.  Author Norma Khouri is in a load of trouble.  Her international bestseller Forbidden Love (sold in the US as Honor Lost: Love and Death in Modern Day Jordan), about a relationship across religious lines in Jordan, is reported to be fiction.  She had sold the book as an autobiographical account, claiming that the main character was her friend. 

While Khouri has been unavailable for comment, bookstores in other countries have been pulling the books from the shelves, some even offering money back to customers who have bought the book.  Amazon.com is no longer selling it from its main site, only from the Marketplace.  Barnes and Noble isn't selling her books online.  In fact, if you do a search for her, she doesn't exist.  Books a Million sides with the Paris bookstores--they have kept it on the shelves.

It's an ethical problem.  They're starting to uncover lots of elements that point to the story being fiction.  Australia, where she currently resides, is considering revoking her immigration status.  (Note to self: don't piss off Australia.  They're serious.)  There are records pointing that she was in Chicago while some of the events in the book were taking place and has two children that are not mentioned in the book.

Yet, the book seems to stand on its own.  According to Amazon.com, it received a glowing review from Publisher's WeeklyThe Library Review loved it.  So, what does that mean?

Obviously, the book being a fictional account rather than a nonfiction "eye on the scene" makes it less relevant in scholarly circles (where it has circulated quite heavily).  But does it make the book less interesting to read?  Did the reviewers like it out of sympathy?  Or because they felt it was a story that needed to be told?  Is it still a story that needs to be told?

I'm going to pop into my local bookstore this evening and see if I can drum myself up a copy.  Stay tuned.  Post your comments if you've read it. 

Currently Reading:

Good as Gold.  Joseph Heller.  Dell Publishing  (1976). 59/447. 

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