Love and Consequences - the memoir of a half-American Indian girl adopted into a caring but star-crossed black family in gang-infested Los Angeles - was praised to the skies last week. Not only was the book "raw and tender and tough-minded", according to Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times, but Margaret Jones, the author, also showed "a novelist's eye for the psychological detail".
There was a reason for that. "Margaret Jones" actually is a novelist of sorts. She is a 33-year-old, white, middle-class suburbanite named Margaret Seltzer, the product of private Episcopal schools and various creative writing programmes. She made the whole thing up.