Since the stories we tell about ourselves become the blueprints for the myths about us, let’s be careful out there, memoirists. You define the story.
Fall approaches. The boys of summer are winding it all down on the diamond and the gridiron guys are gearing up. Since my sport is reading, I’ve tallied up the major themes and attributes of this month’s six memoirs. Here are the scores: family stories six/six; tales of resilience six/six; woman memoirists five/six; damages of […]
Dylan told us all that “everything is gonna be diff’rent when I paint my masterpiece.” The belief that things could be different, even if they weren’t going to be perfect, carried many of this month’s memoirists through very trying times. Masterpieces are not always on canvas: here we glimpse families, houses, and careers that are themselves real works of art.
It’s a big world, and the number of stories out there reflects its immensity. This month’s memoirs contain tales of young lives formed and spent in places like the Hudson Valley, Chicago, Oakland, Louisiana, and Utah (with stints in Africa, Venice, and Antarctica). Was geography destiny for our memoirists? Does where you come from matter as […]
The first few weeks of a new year make for a good time to review the work this column does. Reviewing memoir is tricky stuff, and a review is not a referendum on the writer’s life. A loathsome life story beautifully told? Great. A life of virtue predictably related? Nope. Like I’ve said before: it’s […]
Busch, Benjamin. Dust to Dust. Ecco: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780062014849. $25.95; eISBN 9780062096784. Busch addresses the sustaining value of art in the face of life and death from the perspective of one who has been to war. (LJ 3/1/12) Cusk, Rachel. Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation. Farrar. ISBN 9780374102135. $23; eISBN 9781466820180. This memoir is full of […]
It can take a long time to answer a simple question: What happened? Good memoir writing takes facts and makes sense of them; great memoir writing takes emotions and does the same. This month’s memoirs all take a hard look back at events that begged for explanation. Was the process therapeutic for the writers? Perhaps. […]