Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Vivian, oh Vivian, say have you met Vivian?

Vivian Gornick is a wonder. If you've never read her, trust me, she is a marvelous writer; essayist, memoirist, and critic. Her latest book is an attractive little book of critical essays called The Men in My Life. In each essay she takes on one male writer or more, and has her way with them -- critically of course. I read the book at a run and enjoyed every essay. In particular, I would recommend the essay on V. S. Naipaul & James Baldwin, which is perhaps the most natural, if surprising comparison I've come across recently, at least, when Gornick makes it. (This is typical of all her literary criticism, and her writing in general. Her style is pellucid and her approach invariably fresh and considered.)

And if her literary criticism doesn't attract you, do please read Fierce Attachments, a memoir, as it is not to be missed.

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