Source Material

I Wanted Both

Source Material Francis Spufford October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on February 1, 2012.

"This is not a novel. It has too much to explain, to be one of those. But it is not a history either, for it does its explaining in the form of a story; only the story is the story of an idea, first of all, and only afterwards, glimpsed through the chinks of the idea’s fate, the story of the people involved."


After the Wreck: On Historical Fictions and Fictional Histories

Source Material Naomi J. Williams October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on October 8, 2009.

Everyone likes a shipwreck story. I’m certainly not the first writer to be drawn to the La Pérouse expedition, an ill-fated voyage of exploration that left France in 1785 with two frigates under the command of Jean-François de Galaup de La Pérouse, and disappeared three years later in the South Pacific. Part of the early mystique of the La Pérouse story, of course, was that for almost forty years no one knew what had become of the expedition. It’s always a boon to fictionalizers when people disappear into thin air.


The Inn at St. John

Source Material Sara Majka October 1, 2013

This article originally appeared on August 17, 2009.

Years ago, I became fascinated with a hotel in Portland, Maine, though I’m not sure why. The Inn at St. John is a basic hotel near the bus station, not gritty enough to explain my fascination. I’ve never been in, but pictures on the website show velvet curtains and furniture that’s meant to look Victorian. Quotes promise that it’s "comfortable and a good value" and “CLEAN!” It offers three room tiers: pet-friendly rooms, economically priced rooms for extended visits, or romantic luxury accommodations for weekend getaways. If you want any of these things, it says, the hotel is exactly what you’re looking for.


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