Letter from Michael Dzubinski
Literature – February 1995 – Colorado Central Magazine
In your review of Mysterious Places of the West in January’s issue of Colorado Central, you called The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield a “fabrication” that stays on the ~non-fiction bestseller lists for æons.”
The publisher lists the book as a work of fiction, as do all national distributors, so you’ve got the fabrication part correct. I believe you are incorrect, however, about the non-fiction bestseller lists. I have checked the New York Times, Publishers’ Weekly, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and the Washington Post, and all of them list Celestine Prophecy in their hardcover fiction bestseller lists.
You might be interested to know that James Redfield originally wrote the book as a non-fiction New Age book. He gave manuscript copies to friends, all of whom hated it. They all said the same thing: “It’s boring.”
So Redfield rewrote the entire book, “fabricating” an adventure story around those non-fiction insights he was trying to convey in his boring book. The outcome of the rewrite has since become publishing history.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. There really is no such thing as fiction or non-fiction. These are terms and ideas that were made up by bookstores so that they could have some way of organizing their books. Everything is a fabrication, and if we can remove our labels from things, we can see that everything has truth in it, too.