The onanist or the author?

#42 of 2011 • Our Lady of the Flowers, by Jean Genet → translated from the French by Bernard Frechtman → with an introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre This was such a commitment, so much heaviness in its packed little paperback self. So lush and detailed and fevered, written in the throes of loneliness and delirium [...]

marginalia || Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, by William Styron

A few moments after I carefully peeled the protective plastic off William Styron's Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, I wrote in my notebook: I feel like this is going to put me in the wringer. Odd to hold a slim book in your hands and think, "This is going to beautiful that it might [...]

Lynn Freed, on the writing of fiction: “If it is done right, someone will be hurt.”

The role of ruthlessness itself—the sort of pathological ruthlessness that even the mildest of writers can reveal when having to choose between truth and decency—this, I would say, is primary. It involves not only the obvious indecencies, the revelation of bathroom habits and petty adulteries, but, more than this, the revelation, through the story, through [...]

marginalia || Everything Is Wrong with Me: A Memoir of an American Childhood Gone, Well, Wrong, by Jason Mulgrew

[And now, for something completely different--a break from the bleak and the pseudo-bleak.] I do not know Jason Mulgrew, which, many might point out, is an oversight on my part. I did not know his blog existed, and only took a look-see after reading his memoir, Everything is Wrong With Me: A Memoir of an [...]

marginalia || Her Last Death, by Susanna Sonnenberg

This will be a zip through the book—and, don’t get me wrong, it was hella good—since my brain’s still partly on hibernate. Still. Her Last Death begins as the phone rings early one morning in the Montana house where Susanna Sonnenberg lives with her husband and two young sons. Her aunt is calling to tell [...]