How does Louis-René des Forêts address the question of fiction and reality in his book The Children’s Room?

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Louis-René des Forêts addresses the question of fiction and reality in his book The Children’s Room by presenting stories that blur or undercut reality. In the novella The Bavard, the narrator articulates a tale of a failed romantic encounter, an assault, and a moment of keen transcendence. None of these things happened. The narrator made them up. That the narrator’s account is untrue might be unsurprising for many readers. The title itself suggests that the narrator is spinning a yarn. In French, bavard means talkative. In a sense, the narrator is all talk.

Des Forêts also addresses the question of fiction and reality in relation to the craft of writing fiction. The narrator in The Bavard points out that he is ultimately a product of the author’s imagination. Even if his story was real, it wouldn’t be real proper, because it’s a work of fiction. Another way to think about des Forêts's engagement with reality and fiction is to consider how art—the art of fiction included—tends to collapse or suspend the fiction/reality binary.

In “The Great Moments of a Singer,” the eponymous singer destabilizes the boundaries of fiction and reality due to his unclear intentions. One can wonder if the singer’s talents have vanished or if he’s engaging in manipulation to prove a point. The former—manipulation—links back to the relationship between reality and fiction when it comes to the art of fiction. Like the singer and the supposed bavard, the author of fiction—des Forêts or otherwise—might have to, perforce, engage in manipulation to get the reader to buy into the world that they’ve invented.

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