The Nonfiction Novelist

by Nancy King

I was in the library, looking at the fourteen-day books, when I suddenly stared in amazement. There, on the shelf, was one of my novels, A Woman Walking. Stunned to see it in the section with well-known authors, I picked it up. My joy evaporated when I saw that it was with nonfiction books. Thinking it had been left on that shelf by mistake, I started to put it in its alphabetical order in the fiction section but then I noticed it had been classified as nonfiction. Who could find my novel hidden between how to improve your sex life and what to do about Iran?

A Walking Woman by Nancy King“Okay,” I said to myself, “take a deep breath. Do not be judgmental. Do not attack. Be friendly and nonchalant. It’s probably a mistake that can be easily rectified. In a calm, cool, dispassionate manner, simply tell the librarian that a mistake has been made, that the book has been erroneously classified.”

Feeling rather proud of myself for not getting upset or excited, I took my time, formulated a non-accusatory response, and ambled to the librarian’s desk, patiently waiting until she finished taking care of the woman in front of me.

“May I help you?” she inquired.

“I hope so,” I said, smiling pleasantly. “This book,” I told her, holding A Woman Walking, “is a novel but it’s been classified as nonfiction.”

She shrugged. “Then it’s nonfiction. The people who classify books know what they’re doing.” She turned away from me and picked up a pile of books from the desk.

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