16 November 2009

Two notes on memoir

"I will never write a book memoir unless something really interesting happens to me which is not likely."
--Ben Yagoda, author of the new book MEMOIR: A HISTORY, tempting fate or being honest in an interview with Reuters. Yagoda's ABOUT TOWN: THE NEW YORKER AND THE WORLD IT MADE is excellent reading, and this looks good too, although I imagine his publishers wouldn't have let him call it MEMOIR: A MEMOIR.

"Memoir is the Barbie of literary genres. It exaggerates the assets and invites the reader into an intimate alternative world, sometimes complete with a dream house. We hungrily buy and read memoir even as we express contempt for it. Memoirs are confessional and subversive; memoirs drop names. Memoirs print whispered secrets on their covers in 24-point type. Memoir is so much the genre of our time that sophisticated readers look for memoirs in fiction, hunting for clues to the “real story” with a fervent appetite for details of the writer’s real life."

--Susan Cheever, memoirist in review of Mary Karr's memoir LIT, NYT

1 comment:

nikki said...

Cool! So want to read this now.