There’s an interesting article in the NYTimes about a 17 year-old, Helene Hegemann, who has published a novel, Axolotl Roadkill. The novel is about a 16 year-old’s experience in the drug and club world of Berlin. The book has risen fast in word of mouth buzz, high acclaim, favorable reviews, and sales, and it is a finalist for a Leipzig Book prize.
However it’s been discovered after publication that many lines, phrases, passages and even entire pages have been lifted from the novel Strobo, by Airen, published in August of 2009, as well as passages from his blog.
The book is still up for the award and still well received. Heggeman defends herself by saying that she represents a generation that freely takes from all media and creates something new, and that: “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.”
Creative people have always been inspired by, and even stolen from, all that is in the world, but I’d say lifting an entire page from another novel is plagiarism. But that’s me.
Remember the Harvard student who plagiarized Meg Cabot (was it Meg Cabot? I know it was someone famous…) and the book never came out and the student is now hiding under shame and lawsuits? I can’t help but wonder since Heggemann has plagiarized a less-than famous work if that is why no one seems to care. In fact, some blogs out there say she has done that author a favor by upping his sales! Or maybe everything is changing and we now live in a world where nothing belongs to anyone anymore.
It’s an interesting article and worthy of discussion. Read it and tell me what you think. I really want to know.
fyi: Axolotl is an aquatic Mexican mole salamander. It is on the verge of extinction.