In the latest issue of LA Weekly, Matthew Fleischer uncovers the truth behind Nasdijj, a Native American writer whose literary career was sparked by an article written for Esquire about his adopted son’s lingering death from fetal alcohol syndrome. The buzz around that single feature led to enough book deals to generate three memoirs in four years, a collected outpouring of trauma that rivals Dave Peltzer’s oeuvre for grim, depressing narrative through-lines yet earned raves from critics.
The only problem is that it turns out Nasdijj’s about as Native American as Forrest Carter. And, based on some of his blog entries, maybe just as anti-Semitic as Carter, too—with a strong dose of misogyny thrown in to boot. Even better, he’s like James Frey and JT LeRoy rolled into one, for there’s a distinct possibility that before he started writing nonfiction about being raped by his father, Nasdijj (possibly a.k.a. Tim Barrus) was writing fiction like The Mineshaft in which characters engage in rough sex play with their leather daddys. Which, Fleischer says, might explain some of the preoccupations in his more recent work. This is one wild ride, folks, so make some time in today’s schedule to read the whole article!