Posts Tagged: memoir
By forcing blue-state liberal types to reckon with a demographic they had long dismissed as a punch line—low-income, uneducated whites in economically depleted regions—he [Donald Trump] awakened them to the fact that the groovy progressive social values they had assumed were a national fait accompli were actually only half the story.
There’s been a lot of thoughtful criticism on porn, written by women, recently—notably, Katrina Forrester in the New Yorker and Natasha Lennard in The Nation. For Granta, Andrea Stuart choses a unique angle in her own piece on porn, writing a genre-bending essay that can best be described as a reported piece of first-person criticism....more
Cable television channel FX has purchased Meaty, a comedy series based on Samantha Irby’s memoir of the same title. Developed by Irby, Jessi Klein (head writer for Inside Amy Schumer, author of You’ll Get Over It), and Abbi Jacobson (Broad City, author of forthcoming Carry this Book), the show will focus on “failed relationships, taco feasts, her struggles with Crohn’s disease, poverty, blackness, and body image.”...more
At the New Yorker, Ed Caesar interviews Anna Lyndsey, author of the memoir Girl in the Dark, about her mysterious light sensitivity that kept her in the dark for over a decade. Citing prominent dermatologists, Ceasar questions Lyndsey’s symptoms and explores the possibility that they were psychosomatic, a possibility Lyndsey herself dismisses:
My situation was so extreme, rare and unusual that when I described it to people in the hope of seeking help, the response was usually incredulity.
In a poignant essay for Electric Literature, memoirist Lori Jakiela (Belief is it’s Own Kind of Truth, Maybe) looks back on the time she spent working the church kitchen on bingo nights, and what it taught her about life and writing:
Empathy, like writing, can be about kindness or it can be an aggressive act, both.
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