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The State of Things

The Lifespan of a Fact

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A war is staged in the 123 pages of “The Lifespan of a Fact” (W.W. Norton/ 2012). On the one side, the author John D'Agata defends the merits of artistic license, a certain right for the creator to embellish facts. On the other side, Jim Fingal works as a fact checker, meticulously documenting the inaccuracies in the author's writing. What are we looking for when we go after the truth? And does art or information serve as the better path towards reaching it? Host Frank Stasio talks about memory, emotion and truth with John D’Agata and Jim Fingal, the writers of “The Lifespan of a Fact”; and Dr. Alison Adcock, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University.

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