Tainted Testimony : The Khouri Affair

In times like this, everyone becomes a literary critic:

All autobiographies contain little lies, but Norma Khouri's may be one of the many that are one big lie. Khouri's best-seller Forbidden Love ... had the usual formula for success in a world starving for fashionable victims. It goes like this: trade as a woman, if possible, who is from some tribe or oppressed minority, and has survived the cruelty of whites /colonialists /right-wing thugs /rich guys. And if you aren't any of all of the above, then fake it. (Bolt)

A literary hoax is a definitive event; it brings to light the social, political and ethical investments of narrators, readers and publishers in life narrative. A hoax brings autobiography out ofthe shadows and into the editorials, columns and opinion pieces of the Sunday tabloid:

... write a book that tells of your woe, or trades on it. Garnish with New Age mysticism . . . and showtime! Teary readers! Big sales! Forbidden Love tells how Khouri and her friend Dalia opened a unisex salon in Jordan in 1990. But Dalia, a Muslim, fell in love with a Christian, so shaming her father that he slit her throat.

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Published 1 October 2004 in Volume 21 No. 4. Subjects: Imposture, Literary hoaxes.

Cite as: Whitlock, Gillian. ‘Tainted Testimony : The Khouri Affair.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 21, no. 4, 2004. https://doi.org/10.20314/als.43141c3eb7.