Thank you, Kyi, for alerting self to the charges against Three Cups of Tea subject, Greg Mortenson.
Self decided to investigate, and she did come up with a whole pile of dirt. “60 Minutes” lays out in detail the charges by Jon Krakauer (whose book, Into the Wild, self was about to read after she finished Three Cups of Tea, but which she’ll now put aside, because she’ll be thinking about this controversy while she’s reading Krakauer, and anyhoo the subject of Krakauer’s book dies, as self very well knows, and she really doesn’t want to read anything too depressing, especially now that the holidays are approaching and the days are getting short. And gloomy. In other words, onwards!).
Then she thinks: gee, it’s too bad. The book was as gripping as a novel (but perhaps, that is why it is gripping, because it is a novel! Only, a novel pretending to be a memoir! And told in the third person, yet! By a bona fide journalist!)
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
6 responses to “Krakauer vs. Mortenson”
Into the Wild is a good book and not fiction.
Oh, I know INTO THE WILD is a good — even a great — book. I’ll probably wind up reading it.
I decided to keep on reading THREE CUPS OF TEA. I find it very interesting, even if some parts aren’t true.
I was interested to know that you liked Three Cups of Tea well enough to enjoy it in spite of the controversy. David Relin was in the class ahead of me at Iowa and my mentor when I first arrived. You may be interested to know that he just died.
I liked the writing, actually. It was a bit hard in the beginning to get past the “memoir told in third person” voice, and then I found out that Mortenson never actually stayed in the village he supposedly stayed in after his rescue, the village that is the scene of his “epiphany,” but I am a big sucker for adventure stories. I decided that, whatever the veracity of the information, it was still “a good yarn.” And I can see how people would be inspired after reading it.
David Relin was your mentor at Iowa???
He just died??? I didn’t see anything about it on the web, this past week? Thank you for telling me! He wasn’t old! It’s somewhat shocking.
Several friends/classmates from that time have just posted obituary links this morning. Apparently the members of his family don’t want reason for death to be published. I’m guessing suicide. I just posted a link with more info about him on FB.
When I was at Iowa, each member of the new class was assigned a mentor to help you get used to being there and to offer ways to think about what to expect of a workshop. I was later in a workshop with him and distinctly remembering him saying that the portrayal of the old Indonesian man was what he called dead-on–in Bisu and the Missionary’s Daughter, which I first wrote then and later after many revisions won the Juked prize (like you!) Which made me feel very good. There’s so much controversy about white people trying to characterize people of other ethnicities. Later when he left, he was looking for someone to take his house–It was lore that whoever moved into the house of someone successful with his/her writing would also be successful–but I didn’t because it seemed too far out in the country.
When he left, he and another classmate Jim Sullivan went to Vietnam on a bicycle trip. Jim published Over the Moat about the trip–he stayed–married a Vietnamese girl. I never heard anything more about David until the Three Cups of Tea incident. Another weird thing is that we had two exchange students from Afghanistan at our college a few years ago, and one was especially inspired by “Morensen’s” book and wanted to work with him when she returned. That’s enough for a little while!
Jill, I was curious about him while reading the book. I was so clue-less about the controversy over THREE CUPS OF TEA until I blogged about it, and Kyi (my friend from Burma, a fantastic writer I met in Berlin) let me know. Then, I read up what I could on the web. I felt that he regretted his involvement with Mortenson. I was sorry because there were parts of the book I found really moving. I thought he was a good writer! But it seemed both he and Mortenson were retreating, going into their shells. Too, too bad! Sorry to hear about his death. Amazed that you personally knew him. (I think, by the way, white people should be “allowed” to write about other ethnicities. Isn’t that what writing does, it makes you use your empathy, it enlarges you?)