Following the multiple-award-winning success of Obit, Victoria Chang’s Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief, contemplates heartache, memory, and identity in epistolary form. These letters—addressed to unnamed family members, educators, friends, even to silence—may appear to be one-way communications, but the reader is carbon copied as confidant and silent recipient, enjoined to consider her […]
Women have always walked. Walking is in our “molecular memories,” Annabel Abbs insists in her new book Windswept, “carved indelibly into our DNA.” For thousands of years, women in hunter-gatherer societies walked as many as ten miles a day. And, once agriculture bound women to specific portions of land, women still walked to survive. Water, […]
Emily Dickinson wrote that “biography first convinces us of the fleeing of the Biographed.” And, indeed, for a century and a half, the mystery of Emily Dickinson’s life has evaded many biographers. Her story has instead been hindered by countless myths and stereotypes. Emily the recluse. Emily the woman too shy to publish her work. […]
If you can get past the knot of generational descriptors, geographical locations, and time periods, you will be richly rewarded with a deeply moving, lyrical contemplation of family history, individual identity, and home—one that lingers in your mind long after the book is over.
In Graceland, At Last, Margaret Renkl makes the stereotypes of her native country her business. Taken from her weekly op-ed column in the New York Times, these essays emanate from Renkl outwards—from her own garden where hawks drink at her birdbath to a wildlife reserve in Tennessee helping reestablish the eagle population, from her son’s […]
My father will spin his life into a series of anecdotes and stage-friendly one-liners. It’s a magician’s trick. First comes a sudden sparkle in the periphery, an old pickpocket move, though he uses it to protect his own pockets. Over there, he’ll point, and in a wink you’ll laugh and look away.
Central to Elizabeth Kadetsky’s stellar collection of essays about the nature of memory and grief, The Memory Eaters is her mother’s slippage from a world that once defined the parameters of her identity, and her own capacity to navigate it, as a result of Alzheimer’s disease. As Kadetsky grieves, memories from her girlhood and young […]
When Krys Malcolm Belc became pregnant with a son, he began to see his identity—not only as transmasculine, but as a parent, partner, and child—reshaping around the fetus growing inside him. Belc’s memoir, The Natural Mother of the Child: A Memoir of Nonbinary Parenthood, considers the fluidity between a body in relation to others, as […]
Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s first essay collection, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments, stands with one foot in nature writing and the other in memoir. Widely known for her poetry, Nezhukumatathil uses clean, playful prose to guide us through interesting anecdotes about nature and morsels of memoir about growing up as […]
Get Thee to a Bakery opens with the title essay, in which Rick Bailey recounts his somewhat misguided attempt to clean the gutters in flip-flops—much to the consternation of his wife. While perilously perched at the edge of his ladder, Bailey ponders others who have fallen off ladders. He imagines himself “falling to the ground […]