The timing couldn't be better-as scandals erupt over journalists and memoirists who've cooked their books-for a work that explores our difficulty in separating fact and fiction, while explicitly demonstrating how they differ and what they share.
In prose so fine and wry it makes the back of your neck prickle, Jake Silverstein narrates a journey he undertook through the American Southwest and Mexico, looking to become a journalist. His picaresque travels are filled with beguiling and hilarious characters: nineteenth-century author Ambrose Bierce; an unknown group of famous poets; a twenty-first-century treasure hunter in the Gulf of Mexico; an ex-Nazi mechanic shepherding an old Mexican road race; a stenographer who records every passing moment; and various incarnations of the trickster devil.
As bold, ambitious, and funny as it is unconventional, Nothing Happened and Then It Did is a deep and lasting pleasure.
Jake Silverstein is the editor of Texas Monthly and a contributing editor at Harper's. He lives in Austin, Texas.