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Visible Empire


An epic novel—based on true events—of love, grief, race, and wealth.
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Discuss Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard:
What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

Created: 08/07/19

Replies: 13

Posted Aug. 07, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1946

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What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

While the details of the Orly plane crash are factual, in "Visible Empire" Hannah Pittard fictionalizes the lives of Atlanta's residents affected by the crash. What do you make of this balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties Pittard takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?


Posted Aug. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
janeh

Join Date: 06/15/11

Posts: 179

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RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

Yes. I think the author did an excellent jobs of balancing fact and fiction in this book. One of the best
parts of this story was this artful balance.


Posted Aug. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
djcminor

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 36

RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

I do like the balance between fiction and nonfiction. By turning the truth into a fictionalized story, Pittard engages readers who like both fiction and nonfiction. I was unfamiliar with the plane crash and so did a little research on it after I read the book. That's always a good sign to me--that a book engages the readers enough to seek out further information.


Posted Aug. 13, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 97

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RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

I don’t really know how much was fact and how much was fiction. Obviously the main characters were fictionalized but since I didn’t read up on the actual event, I don’t even know who the mayor was and if the characters of Ivan and Lulu were all fiction or partly factual. Sometimes fiction can help you understand an actual event in a deeper way. You just have to keep in mind that it is fiction.


Posted Aug. 14, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rebeccar

Join Date: 03/13/12

Posts: 401

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RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

I thought the author did an excellent job of blending and balancing!


Posted Aug. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 163

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RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

She achieved a very good balance between fact and fiction. Though the event was historically interesting, it might have been a rather dull book. By making her fictional characters the main part of the story, it became an interesting novel and much more human.


Posted Aug. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
rorya

Join Date: 09/18/13

Posts: 19

RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

The balance is necessary in order to portray the emotional resonance of the crash more realistically, so to speak. The fictional characters are able to speak to certain aspects that may not be as apparent if left only to the factual telling.


Posted Aug. 15, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 157

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RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

Generally, I do find the artistic liberties taken help me understand the historical event better, but not in this case. I was drawn to this book because I wanted a broader, more fully imagined telling of a story based on this factual event; however, the character emphasis was too narrowly confined to Tucker and Coleman’s antics.


Posted Aug. 19, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 157

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RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

I completely agree with melanieb on this one. I think beyond the initial explanation of the crash, I didn't necessarily make the connection between the characters and the event. The book could have been character-driven without that reference. I was expecting more "historical" in my fiction.

Coleman was a self-centered jerk before the crash, so much so that he was about to be cut off financially. After the crash, he was a self-centered jerk, who no longer needed to worry about money. Anastasia would have found another scam to get what she wanted. If the crash hadn't happened, Robert would most likely still have been involved with Rita. He easily could have had a guilty breakdown over something entirely different. So, I don't think the history had anything to do with my understanding. I felt like that aspect was missing from most of the novel.


Posted Aug. 20, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Maggie

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 192

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RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

I thought this book was primarily fiction. I would have liked more about the people who died in the crash, their stories who they were in Atlanta’s society.


Posted Aug. 29, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
vickio

Join Date: 05/19/11

Posts: 13

RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

I have to agree with Maggie. I thought the description of the event was the only factual part of the novel. I wasn’t even sure what made the main characters Atlanta residents. There was a real disconnect between the fact and fiction.


Posted Sep. 02, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
bettyt

Join Date: 05/12/11

Posts: 189

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RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

I thought the balance was good but would have liked to have known a bit more about the people who died in the crash.


Posted Sep. 12, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
kkb

Join Date: 04/22/19

Posts: 12

RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

I liked that the story involved an actual catastrophic event, and then the fictionalized accounts of how people MAY act in these circumstances. That is what fiction is all about. There weren't too many likable characters in this book, but this also shows that after this type of event, it can bring out the worst, and sometimes the best, in a person. And if you are not a likable person to begin with, it can go either way. So the author went both ways with the characters, which made them perfectly believable.


Posted Sep. 14, 2019 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 202

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RE: What do you make of the balance between fact and fiction? Do you find that the artistic liberties the author takes help you better understand the historical resonances of this catastrophic event?

I thought the balance of fact and fiction was well-done, and the fictional characters brought the history alive for me. But as others have said, I would have liked to know more about the characters (or the actual people) who died in the crash.


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