In this timely collection, Ms. Hampl “weaves personal stories and grand ideas into shimmering bolts of prose” (Minneapolis Star Tribune) as she considers the habit of autobiographical writing that enchants and bedevils her. Hampl reflects on her family’s response to her writing, the ethics of writing about family and friends, the subterfuges and falsities of memoir. And she considers a wide range of personal writing including Augustine’s Confessions, Whitman’s idyllic America, the ambitions of Sylvia Plath, and the genius of Anne Frank. The impulse behind all the pieces is “Remember!”–a command that can be startling. For to remember is to make a pledge: to the indelible experience of personal perception, and to history itself.
“A notable new collection . . . rich and idiosyncratic prose.”
New York Times Book Review
“Those tired of the reductive view of autobiography as voyeur’s toy will welcome these investigations on the form’s redemptive powers and link to history.”
Embodies “the best that memoir can be.”