Reviews

Safekeeping
by Abigail Thomas

Safekeeping is composed of the poignant moments that tell the story of a life. In a collection of brief vignettes, Thomas shares the formative memories of her life during the time that surrounds the death of her second husband.
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A Feather on the Breath of God
by Sigrid Nunez

A Feather on the Breath of God is a complex, psychological exploration into the childhood and growth of a narrator whose parents are immigrants of different nationalities. A novel, written in the style of a memoir, this emotion-summoning account explores the narrator’s life and heritage, as shaped by her immigrant parents.
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Lying
by Lauren Slater

I’ve read a couple of exceptional books lately, and I just have to share my experience with at least one of them. Lying by Lauren Slater, blew my mind wide open regarding the possibilities in memoir writing. I had no idea what the term “metaphorical memoir” (the primary term used to describe the essence of the book) could possibly mean. As a result, I left the book on my shelf for quite some time. And after reading all the other books in my possession, there was Lying, still lying on my shelf. I’m so glad—what a thought-provoking, mind-spinning tale of a girl who grows up with the life-shaping illness of epilepsy. The metaphorical part turns out to be the illness, and by the end of the book, the reader is left wondering not only whether or not the author actually suffered from the illness after all, but also which illness(es) she really suffered from, based on several that she describes in the book.
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Still Life with Oysters and Lemon
by Mark Doty

Still Life with Oysters and Lemon: On Objects and Intimacy is a lyrical exploration of the ways in which art not only reflects but also transcends life, giving it a higher, eternal meaning.
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Stop Time
by Frank Conroy

I remember reading a book called Body and Soul by Frank Conroy many years ago. My father had loaned it to me, and at the time, I’d never heard of the author. Years later, as I was beginning to toy with the idea of pursuing a degree (not to mention a lifestyle, which is ultimately what it becomes) in creative writing, I heard a radio interview with Frank Conroy. The name immediately struck a chord, and I leafed back through the pages of my memory to Body and Soul. It took mere seconds for the synapses to fire their way to the right connection. It was an unforgettable book.
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The Situation and The Story: The Art of Personal Narrative
by Vivian Gornick

In The Situation and The Story: The Art of Personal Narrative, Vivian Gornick paints a detailed picture of the critical elements of essay and memoir writing. Though many of the elements apply to both essay and memoir writing, the description she provides in regard to the difference between the two styles is lucent. While the writer of essay uses “persona to explore a subject other than herself,” the writer of memoir uses the subject “precisely to explore—illuminate, define—herself” (p 77).
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