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The Strange Allure of the Nonexistent Masterpiece

Night Film"This is frustrating, and it happens to me more often than you might think. I’m constantly falling for cultural artifacts that clever authors have cooked up for their novels. I become invested in these made-up movies and songs and books much the way I do with well-crafted characters — and I’m similarly sad to part with them when I finish the last chapter." 

There's No Genius More Unknown Than the One Who Never Was, a fascinating article by Rob Brunner in the New York Times Magazine, explores the "strange allure of the nonexistent masterpiece." 

From the films of Stanislas Cordova, as written about in Marisha Pessl's Night Film, to A.N.Dyer, the Salinger-eque writer featured in & Sons by David Gilbert, to Vinteuil's Sonata for Piano and Violin rhapsodized about by Proust in Swann's Way, Brunner laments the music, film and authors that will "forever remain in the realm of the imagination."

What's your favorite fictional masterpiece?  What book, or movie, or band do you wish really existed?  Let us know in the comments!The Royal Tenenbaums

On the top of my fictional work list is Family of Geniuses, the memoir by Etheline Tenenbaum as shown in The Royal Tenenbaums.  Wes Anderson has a way with a fictional tale--The Royal Tenenbaums alone has fictional works by almost all of its characters.

Need help kick-starting your memory?  Check out this fun and comprehensive List of Fictional Books from our friends over at Wikipedia. (In other news, fictional books are a surprisingly tricky thing to search for in our catalog, of course.)  The list of Fictional Novels in the Works of Stephen King is possibly even longer than his list of actual novels! 

I warn you, Wikipedia's List of Fictional Books alone, plus the "See Also" lists of Fictional Comics, Guidebooks, Brands, Television Shows and Films is an immediate, nostalgia-filled, delightful trip into a rabbit hole of fictional fiction.  Enjoy! (posted by Carol J.)

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Comments

I would definitely love to

I would definitely love to read the *actual* Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. AND I want to read/watch all of the fake documents from The House of Leaves -- I think there are 50+ of those.

Ooh, yeah! Those are both

Ooh, yeah! Those are both GREAT examples! Aw, I'd love to read the actual Hitchhiker's Guide! Now I'm a little sad about Douglas Adams ... (Carol J.)

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