Memoir & Essay

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Finding Words

Finding Words

WHEN I WAS in my 20s I was sure that I would die of a broken heart. My Cuban mother brought me to the only person she thought could fix it: Margaríta. Margaríta knew things. She was also a Cubana, a...

Closing the Circle

Closing the Circle

AFTER HIS FATHER’S DEATH in 2007, Marcos Giralt Torrente read sundry memoirs “for inspiration,” as he prepared to write Tiempo de vida, his award-winning book about personal loss and the final y...

Fathoming Family

Fathoming Family

ONE OF THE STRANGE and amazing things about being an essayist and reading essays both for work and for pleasure is that you can develop the erroneous feeling that you and a favorite essayist are frien...

Channeling the Emotion of the Moment

Channeling the Emotion of the Moment

IN 2005, WHEN JULIA GILLARD was a Member of Parliament to watch, and not Australia’s first female prime minister, a photograph of her sitting at the kitchen table in her suburban home illustrated a ...

Scatterings

Scatterings

2014 MARKS THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY of the Wilderness Act, the most important piece of environmental legislation in America’s history. Over the last year, the news media have run dozens of articles ab...

The Philosophy of Pugilistic Spectacle

The Philosophy of Pugilistic Spectacle

AS AN OCCASIONAL WATCHER of mixed martial arts fights on television, I particularly like it when the announcer informs the crowd of the precise means of victory. For example, after watching some bare-...

The Junk Artist

The Junk Artist

I MIGHT BE in the minority here, but I relax whenever I read an essay. And to read a collection of essays, I find, is an almost truant pleasure, as if I were skipping my trip to the gym to grab a doug...

The Major and the Minor: Meghan Daum Bears Down

The Major and the Minor: Meghan Daum Bears Down

IN “DIFFERENCE MAKER,” one of the 10 essays in her strong new collection, Meghan Daum compares the practice of writing to an “isometric exercise requiring the foot to repeatedly draw very small,...

Ghost Story

Ghost Story

ONE AFTERNOON, just as light is beginning to pale in the crescent window under the rafters, a woman going through old boxes in her grandparents’ attic comes across a sheaf of photographs: in them he...

Notes on a Native Daughter: Joan Didion at 80

Notes on a Native Daughter: Joan Didion at 80

EVEN NOW, even in this century, decades past the pictures with Corvettes and cigarettes and sunglasses, even after her manner, with its uneasy admixture of condescension toward the world and delicacy ...

Speaking of Memory: Nabokov’s Folded Fabric

Speaking of Memory: Nabokov’s Folded Fabric

EARLY IN THE PAGES of his memoir, Speak, Memory, Vladimir Nabokov confesses that he is a “chronophobic,” that he in fact not only fears but also doesn’t “believe in time,” that he is less im...