Hold Nothing Back


Worried you are too young to be working on a memoir? Worried you are revealing too many deep dark secrets and your relatives will disown you forever? Author Gary Shteyngart, 41—which he says is 74 in Russian years—shares some words of wisdom

Which leads to the first question a memoirist must ask: What should I hold back? Whatever one writes, and however crackerjack one’s memory, memoir is by definition an intrusion into the privacy of others. In my book I quote the poet Czeslaw Milosz: “When a writer is born into a family, the family is finished,” perhaps overstating the case in a typically Eastern European way.

Diksha Basu is the author of The Windfall. You can find her on Twitter @dikshabasu. More from this author →