I'm not really sure I understand what the point of this is supposed to be.
I wish this had been a collection of actual essays rather than a series of fI'm not really sure I understand what the point of this is supposed to be.
I wish this had been a collection of actual essays rather than a series of fragments with no clear origin. Maran gives no methodology and, as such, it is unclear what is being asked of the writers profiled. There is no depth to any chapter, to anything any of the writers provided and that is very clearly unfair to them.
There's no breadth, either. These were largely homogenous "essays," by a collection of largely homogenous writers (rich older white people). This is all very New York, very Literary. A very singular vision of what writing about oneself entails (with some room for varying degrees of guilt). Perhaps I am just more interested in what it means to write a personal essay (or, actually, creative nonfiction -- or just recognized-as-subjective nonfiction in general) then whatever is being accomplished under the definition of "memoir" here.
I want to have read Bad Feminist again instead (or anything from Nicole Cliffe's link round-ups over at The Toast).
Still, Ayelet Waldman's voice somehow manages to really come through and I can't wait to check out her work; Jesmyn Ward's memoir is absolutely getting bumped up higher on my to-read list; Edmund White seems like the worst.
(An advanced copy of this book was provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.)...more
This is 100% what I wish Hausfrau had been; this book is not getting the Gone Girl comparisons it deserves. It's weird and compelling, it's about ArgeThis is 100% what I wish Hausfrau had been; this book is not getting the Gone Girl comparisons it deserves. It's weird and compelling, it's about Argentinian politics in the middle of the twentieth century and the people (women) who are involved with a shady psychoanalyst. I want to read it again....more
I finished it. Which is something of a miracle for a Margaret Atwood book for me. I read The Handmaid's Tale about a decade ago, liked it, and have keI finished it. Which is something of a miracle for a Margaret Atwood book for me. I read The Handmaid's Tale about a decade ago, liked it, and have kept trying to finish another ever since.
This was fine. I have a personal soft spot for "the criminal justice system IS the villain" stories and I think Atwood was kind of coasting on that. There was so much going on here: the prison set-up, the economic meltdown that made the prison thing seem like a good idea, the sex dolls, the mind altering, the sexual assault (so much sexual assault), the Elvises, the hand-knit teddy bears, the dystopian underworld of all of that, Stan's brother, television shows, sex work, 1950s media, lockers.
I think I really wanted this book to be the day-to-day minutia of life in Consilience/Positron. Like, I wanted to see the business plans (those that were public knowledge and those that weren't). There's a world here and I wanted to live in it for a while with Stan and Charmaine before following them down a rabbit hole where they're brutalized at every turn. (Seriously, poor Charmaine.)
I kept thinking about the world the whole time I was reading it, this book is really compelling on a surface level but it is just all surface....more
This is, for me, THE book of 2015. (Or one of THE books, it's been a really good year already.)
There are some really obvious and fair comparisons to mThis is, for me, THE book of 2015. (Or one of THE books, it's been a really good year already.)
There are some really obvious and fair comparisons to make with Zadie Smith's White Teeth here: the neighbors, the father, the problems with race, the religion, the last big dramatic scene, and the legacy of the non-white grandmother. That has to be acknowledged.
What I find really compelling about In the Language of Miracles (and this is also the thing that really distances itself from White Teeth) is the lack of focus on the white family. The Bradstreets are there and we know Jim and Cynthia but not in the way we know them in the 10,000 books written about the parents of the dead white girl. Natalie's de-centering in a narrative that we have come to expect to be primarily about her body (she was murdered by her brown ex-boyfriend) actually, I think, allows her to be a fuller character. We don't spend the book haunted by her body, only a moment at the end, and, in a book that is all about the problem with remembering the dead, we're not suffocated by trying to figure out who she was. She just was.
From a gendered perspective, feeling free to not obsess over Natalie's virtues in favor of focusing on Hosaam's actions is a real strength. We're not preoccupied with why he did it or what could have been done to stop it (even though his family is, we're just observing their grief), we're just in the aftermath of this thing that happened. We've just surrendered.
This is a book about Khaled and his grandmother. Their relationship is about prayer and connection. They are the keepers of memories and the ones who must keep wading through their circumstances. They don't have a way out from the past or the present.
(Preview copy received from First to Read in exchange for an honest review.)...more
Struggling between two and three stars because there's a lot of worth in this book but I REALLY didn't need the three pages at the end about how the mStruggling between two and three stars because there's a lot of worth in this book but I REALLY didn't need the three pages at the end about how the male author had never really thought about rape before....more