Double Life

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Non-Fiction (Double Vies), Juliette Binoche

At last, a film with a plot point involving the struggle for supremacy between digital and paper books. The screenwriter has done his homework: Amazon's influence on the market and effect on book sales. Nora Roberts and her success on the Amazon platform. The advantages of ebook pricing at $3.99 v. $23.99 for readers who crave only the text.

Leonard is having an affair with the wife of his editor. The editor is having an affair with his new young social media consultant, who has a lesbian lover as well. All very French: everyone betrays everyone else. Leonard's books aren't selling very well. His editor recommends genre fiction, a book like a previous work that was a commercial success.
But Leonard's novels are autofiction, thinly masking his own life and extramarital affairs. Writing fiction is not possible: he has to get his own story out.

Is his manuscript fiction or not? To disguise his affair with the editor's wife, Leonard claims an affair with a television presenter. But the public is skeptical, unhappy with the suggestion that the respected presenter would get involved with the likes of Leonard. When quizzed about the discrepancies, Leonard hides behind the word "fiction."

The editor fails to figure things out.

Autofiction is a popular literary genre in France, surfacing in 1977. From the Meiji period in Japan comes the older "I novel." In America the non-fiction novel was pioneered by Truman Capote and his tale of murder in Kansas titled In Cold Blood. But Capote was never a reliable narrator. "I remember things the way they should have been," he once famously said. He appeared on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show and claimed to be investigating a case of serial killings in Texas, with the main suspect a Texas millionaire. No such case has ever surfaced, but Capote's account of the investigation, Handcarved Coffins, appeared in the collection titled Music for Chameleons.

In the end the adulterous relationships collapse but the marriages somehow survive.

The fate of the printed book remains in doubt.