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Fiction or Nonfiction?

Another question that has been put to me in several different variations is basically whether The Caiad is a true account of an actual voyage around the world or a fictional narrative inspired by the author's experiences. And if it is the former, why is it presented as a third person narrative about someone named Caius rather than a first person account by the author?

Since there are photographs on this website taken in various parts of the world, including the one here of Jane at the helm departing Bora Bora on the 1200-mile passage to Samoa, it is obvious that a voyage took place. Still, the question remains whether the story has been altered or embellished for literary effect or other causes or, even if no intentional embellishment is suspected, what about the fallibility of memory in a publication dated 30 years after the events recounted commenced? For a more complete discussion of that issue I will refer you to the Introduction. In the photo accompanying this entry you can see the potted palm featured in the Introduction just to the right of Bora Bora fading astern.

Perhaps I chose to make Caius the protagonist of a third person narrative to diminish the the degree of self-absorption that I feared would leak into a first person account. Why did Thomas Wolfe become Eugene Gant, or James Joyce call himself Stephen Dedalus? In Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert Pirsig recounts a road trip that is I believe essentially a true account, but the protagonist is called Phaedrus. So I am not alone in making that choice.



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