In order to maintain the factographic pact with the reader, in non-fiction narratives the authors tend to refrain from relying on the “perfect-memory convention.” In particular, memoirs (prominently including Conrad’s narratives) tend to avoid detailed prolonged dialogues, and direct speech in them usually takes the form of memorable phrases or statements (sound bites) that are supposed to have engraved themselves in the author’s memory. In Conrad’s autobiographical works this tendency is complicated by the fact that some of the sound-bites are translations from other languages (hence with a touch of fictionalization, enhanced by an occasional withholding of names and other verification landmarks). Yet the more extensive use of direct speech in Conrad's A Personal Record may be associated with specific artistic goals or else with the author's keen awareness of touches of fictionalization.
In the 1920s, during his émigré life in interbellum Berlin, Vladimir Nabokov wrote a number of Christmas stories. These stories—“Christmas,” “The Christmas Story,” and “A Reunion”—were all composed and published at Christmastime and set on the eve of Russian Christmas (first week of January). While involving the traditional motifs of the Christmas-story genre, such as the combination of joy and sorrow as well as the motifs of epiphany, gift, care, and forgiveness, these narratives expand the scope of the genre to represent not communal religious values but a private ethical stance. The purity of commitments emerges as a criterion for successful inner life. The gifts are usually the gifts of the memory, cherished in “Christmas” and “A Reunion,” and forfeited in “The Christmas Story,” as well as in a counter-story, “A Matter of Chance,” which was also written at Christmas time but set August and published with half a year’s delay.