Memoir & Essay

RECENT REVIEWS

How Vivian Gornick Saved My Life: A True Story

How Vivian Gornick Saved My Life: A True Story

At three in the afternoon, I pass a man who is yelling into the air, “Help me! Help me! I’ve got four uncurable diseases! Help me!” I tap him on the shoulder and cheerfully confide, “The word ...

The Page Unturned

The Page Unturned

IN JILL TALBOT’S NEW MEMOIR, the author and Kenny, the father of her daughter Indie, experience a brief spell as a family before he departs, when Indie is four months old, never to return. Then begi...

Luminous Loss

Luminous Loss

ELIZABETH ALEXANDER'S MEMOIR about her husband, Ficre Ghebreyesus, takes its title from a line by poet Derek Walcott — “O Beauty, you are the light of the world!” Later in the book we learn that...

Never Too Far

Never Too Far

FOR MOST OF HIS LIFE, Oliver Sacks’s great subject has been revealment and concealment: most directly in regard to what his patients, with their conditions of exceptional severity, hide, or rather w...

The Serial Reader

The Serial Reader

CONSIDER THE SERIAL MEMOIRIST. There are many — Maya Angelou, Diana Athill, Maxine Hong Kingston, Frank McCourt, Jamaica Kincaid — who have extended life stories over multiple memoirs. Each has ma...

Black Girl

Black Girl

ONE OF THE MANY indelible scenes in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man involves a discussion of “home” and what it means to be at home, to be comfortable with home, and to go home again. The narrator...

Poetry and Persona

Poetry and Persona

I COULDN'T WAIT to read Sonja Livingston’s Queen of the Fall, subtitled A Memoir of Girls and Goddesses and billed as a book that “considers the lives of women.” I had recently interviewed Vivia...

Rules and Rituals, Time Capsules and Tap Handles

Rules and Rituals, Time Capsules and Tap Handles

AS A GIRL, Heidi Julavits kept a diary. As a teen, the term embarrassed her, and she started calling it a journal. Her new book, The Folded Clock: A Diary, chronicles her recent return to the original...

Bad Dad

Bad Dad

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.They may not mean to, but they do.They fill you with the faults they hadAnd add some extra, just for you. — Philip Larkin, from “This Be the Verse” &nbsp...

Waiting for Giorgio

Waiting for Giorgio

The following is a feature article from the most recent edition of the LARB Quarterly Journal: Winter 2015. To pick up your copy of the Journal, become a member of the Los Angeles Review of Books ...

Our Diaries, Ourselves

Our Diaries, Ourselves

TODAY I DUG OUT an old diary from one of the large cardboard boxes that my husband and I never unpacked after our last move. It’s a spiral notebook with a multicolored cover. Thin lines of text, wri...