memoir Archive

Maggie O’Farrell Pulls the Curtain Back on Death

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Maggie O’Farrell’s recent memoir takes its title from this allusion. I am, I am, I am tells the story of the author’s life through seventeen near death experiences.

Imagine Wanting Only This and the Subjectivity of Memoir

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Beginning with her childhood in Wisconsin and threading through her years in Chicago, Iowa, Kentucky, and numerous cities abroad, Kristen Radtke’s 2017 graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This chronicles her enduring obsession with ruins and the significance people find in them. Instigated by the premature death of her uncle,

Prose Like A River: The Rhythm of Landscape in Angela Palm’s Riverine

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When I was growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I loved to picnic with family on the bank of Cove Creek and listen, while we smacked our lips from cherry cobbler, to the creek gulp itself. Hollows between rocks sloshed pell-mell down the current’s throat. Whirlpools gargled a

Review: HUNGER, A MEMOIR OF (MY) BODY by Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay is America’s favorite "bad feminist." She is often read as a black feminist, but her Haitian roots rarely get more than a passing mention. And yet, Haiti is the unseen backdrop to Gay’s memoir Hunger: a fierce, black, female, fat narrative.

Review: SURPASSING CERTAINTY: WHAT MY TWENTIES TAUGHT ME by Janet Mock

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A constant theme of the book is Mock’s profound isolation, reinforced by her “stealth” status, “wearing that cloak of normalcy” where she is seen as a cisgender woman.

Death Memoirs and What They Impart to the Living

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Recent memoirs on death and dying offer profound insights for the living, from Edwidge Danticat’s comprehensive new book, The Art of Death, to more intimate accounts of facing death first-hand, such as Nina Riggs’ The Bright Hour and Cory Taylor’s Dying: A Memoir.

The Narrative Conscience: An Interview With Connie May Fowler

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Connie May Fowler’s new memoir, A Million Fragile Bones, is the story of finding home on a Florida sandbar, a migratory crossroads for monarchs, hummingbirds, purple martins, where “dragonflies stir the air with the metallic thrum of transparent wings.”

Review: THE RULES DO NOT APPLY by Ariel Levy

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A staff writer for The New Yorker, Ariel Levy describes her beat as “women who are too much.

The Limits and Freedoms of Literary Regionalism: Silence and the Self in Joan Didion’s Southern California Memoir

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Joan Didion's 1979 book of essays The White Album is not only a road trip through the gridded streets and indecisive canyons of Los Angeles County, but also a meditation on Southern California as a setting for self-discovery.

Shirley Jackson, Madeleine L’Engle, and Motherhood

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I read much of Shirley Jackson’s memoir of raising four children, Life Among the Savages (1952), on a weekend when I was caring for three children. For a brief stretch—maybe five pages—we achieved a fragile equilibrium and they were all attached to me as I read.