Posts Tagged: memoir
For NPR Books, Quil Lawrence talks with a handful of soldiers-turned-authors about the genre of war literature that has been catalyzed by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These authors want their audiences to know that war is not all Hollywood-scale battle scenes, and warn against the glamorization of war stories and hero-worshipping of veterans....more
As both a storyteller and a stylist, Braverman is remarkably skilled, with a keen sense of visceral detail … that borders on sublime.
For Lit Hub, Edward White writes about Jay Z and Morrissey’s experimental memoirs, investigating how both artists indulge and subvert what readers want from a musician’s autobiography:
Where Morrissey gives us a conventional autobiography in an unconventional way—no chapters, paragraphs that run for half-a-dozen pages, and seemingly no contribution from an editor—Jay-Z is more formally experimental, mixing memoir with manifesto in chapters that are centered on extensive, line-by-line analysis of some of his most famous, and infamous, lyrics.
Lit Hub shares images from Hannah Höch’s Life Portrait, a collection of collages from the master Dadaist’s long life of groundbreaking work. Höch’s collages explore the themes that characterize Dadaism, including fragmented identity and sexuality as the result of burgeoning industrialism and ever-expanding technology....more
A rash of confessional memoirs by middle- and upper-class white women (think Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl) has repositioned feminism not as a political movement, but as a validation for extreme self-exposure. These books have some feminists wondering if they’re doing more harm than good:
What we are seeing now is feminism used as a brand; dislocated and disconnected from any collective political project.
When I started reading this book, I hated it. I thought, this is what happens when an illustrator takes a shot at storytelling. It’s just one drawing after another until you hit the requisite 175 or so pages that equals “book.” I get even grouchier imagining that books like these are dreamed up as a way to re-market previously published short stories, and then padded out with sketchbook drawings....more
Clay Byars—author of Will & I, his recently released memoir about being an identical twin—tackles big life questions and the writing process with Drew Broussard for FSG Originals. Edited by Byars’s friend John Jeremiah Sullivan, Will & I explores “the sense that I was more than myself,” as a twin, as Byars puts it, and the meta-conscious act of storytelling....more
To research her book Without You, There Is No Us, Suki Kim worked undercover as an ESL teacher in North Korea. Kim was reluctant to call the work a memoir, believing that to do so “trivialized” her investigative reporting. The result was a backlash from critics, who called her undercover methods “dishonest.” At The New Republic, Kim responds to her critics:
Here I am telling my story to you, the reader, essentially to beg for acknowledgment: I am an investigative journalist, please take me seriously.
While I couldn’t read “In Gratitude” without a persistent lump in my throat, and without the persistent awareness that its author was … experiencing the very last days or hours or minutes of her life, Diski’s final book proves transcendently disobedient, the most existence-affirming and iconoclastic defense a writer could mount against her own extinction.
Countering our culture’s disregard for all things elderly, comics have become a medium of choice for celebrating the lives of our oldest and wisest generation. Bird in a Cage (Conundrum Press, 2016) joins a growing roster of graphic novels about the elderly that explore how much they are loved, how rich and complicated their lives are, and how difficult it can be to say goodbye to them....more
For Lit Hub, Sarah Hepola takes on the muddy ethical questions of memoir-writing by asking her mother and father what it felt like to be portrayed in her book:
I was being paranoid, but those of us who write memoirs should never underestimate the damage they can cause.
[Memoir] comes alive at the fissures of its coherency: when a narrator is struggling to hold the self together in a text—for the reader’s sake if not also her own.
Scott F. Parker met up with Maggie Nelson at AWP to talk about her writing, her sudden popularity, memoir (or life writing), autotheory, and Buddhism for The Believer’s interview series, Stories of Self—complete with illustrations by Nelson’s partner, Harry Dodge....more