Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No fictionalization needed

I just read Jason's post and, while I have not read the novel, it's prompted some thoughts.

Like him I wonder, why fictionalize? The story sounds as if it's strong enough on its own. In fact, it likely would resonate more with readers as a nonfiction account. Certainly concerns about condensing time could be addressed while keeping it a true story.

I just read "The Last Nine Minutes" which is the true account of Flight 981. Moira Johnston's work is a detailed examination of the investigation into the cause of a DC-10 crash that killed all 346 people on board just nine minutes after takeoff from Paris.

It was the first crash of a wide-body jet and at the time (1974) the largest aviation disaster.

I'll admit, at times, the writing is a bit dry, and the title is somewhat misleading since there is little to indicate what those nine minutes of flight were like. But, on the whole, Johnston delivers a fascinating account into a tragedy many feel could have been avoided.

I particularly noticed those events that would never occur today.

Things like the airline did not have an accurate passenger manifest. They knew who tickets were issued to, but anyone could board with the ticket. Several members of a rugby club had passed their tickets on to others. Can you imagine such a thing happening circa 2009?!

Things like allowing family members to get their information on the crash from televised news reports.

Things like the challenges of identifying remains pre-DNA tests.

At the time the work was published the courtroom battles over the disaster were ongoing.

I have to say, the book renewed my interest in real-life disaster works.

Got any suggestions?

- Tricia Ambrose

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Blogger Tricia said...

It's been out for a while, but I only recently picked it up - "Under the Banner of Heaven" by Jon Krakauer. Two Mormon fundamentalist brothers murder the young wife and baby daughter of their youngest brother. The motive behind such hideous crimes is examined and explained within the context of the evolution of the Mormon faith in the US. I've found the movement of the story from present into past and back to the present again very interesting and effective.

December 18, 2009 at 6:32 PM 

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