Author James Frey Brings a God Complex to the Bronx

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

By Julia Furlan : WNYC Culture Producer

If you’re going to take on books, you might as well start with the good book. At least that’s what New York-based author James Frey is doing with his latest novel “The Final Testament of the Holy Bible.” What’s more innovative than the novel’s Bronx-living messiah character, who smokes pot and has sex with prostitutes, is that Frey appears to be side-stepping the publishing industry.

Eleven thousand hard copies of the book will be published by the Gagosian Art Gallery, with cover art designed by the gallery’s artists and an exhibit where five artists produce work in response to the book. Frey is self-publishing the book online as well, which is a departure for a best-selling author—even if the best-seller in question happens to be Frey’s 2006 book “A Million Little Pieces,” which was debunked as a fabricated memoir.

Culture writer and host of “The Bat Segundo Show” podcast Ed Champion is no Frey fan. He says that the author is a “narcissist” and a “megalomaniac.” But Champion does feel that Frey is onto something. “The book as a beautiful physical object is really the way for the physical book to survive as the e-book becomes more of a dominant part of the book market,” he said.

[ click to continue reading at ]