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Not a Novel

In response to:

New Fiction from the April 22, 1965 issue

To the Editors:

You, your reviewer, and your readers should know that my book The Orgy—treated in your April 22nd issue as fiction—is not a novel. The book was not announced or published as a novel. It is a documentary account of three days of living under an extraordinary power—with a flash-back during the first day and a flash-forward during the third. Its material is contained in the notebook which I kept during August 1958, which will eventually be available to readers.

The Orgy is not a novel, and I hate the non-word “non-fiction.” I have written other work grounded in fact: poems, biographies, films. The Orgy is entirely factual—even the dolphin—except that I drank the Irish before and after Puck Fair, which I was reporting on assignment for a documentary film director. The Orgy is a book—whatever happened to that category?—and it is a pity your reviewer did not read it as a book. The only thing in it I did not write and I cannot vouch for is the publishers’ disclaimer, of which your reviewer makes so much. I think that your readers, and any lawyer, will realize why that disclaimer was printed in the front of the book, although your reviewer does not.

There seemed to me to be a certain value in recording the personal response to the invasion of myth, to which each of us at Puck Fair reacted in accordance with his own nature.

Muriel Rukeyser

New York City

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