Critic and memoirist Sven Birkert's meditation on the allure and the dangers of chronology as a writer renders his own life
The Art of Time in Memoir
- “Birkerts’ enlightening literary anatomy deepens appreciation for the memoir as it reveals how writers turn the indelible times of their lives into art that is timeless.”—Donna Seaman, Booklist
In The Art of Time in Memoir, critic, editor, and memoirist Sven Birkerts examines the human impulse to write about oneself. "Memoir is, for better and often for worse, the genre of our times," Birkerts admits. But what makes one memoir memorable and another self-serving? What makes the difference between graceful disclosure and sensational self-exposure? Birkerts passionately argues that the memoirist's strategies for navigating time itself reveal the power and resonance of a writer's life. By examining memoirs such as Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory, Virginia Woolf's unfinished A Sketch of the Past, and Mary Karr's The Liar's Club, Birkerts describes the memoirist's essential art of assembling patterns of meaning, stirring to life our own sense of past and present.
- “Among the most insightful books on the genre.”—Ron Slate
- “Expansive and eclectic and laserous and lucid and impassioned and heartlessly smart. Birkerts is the most interesting and persuasive critic in the U.S. today.”—David Foster Wallace
- “To read Birkerts is to hear (and enjoy hearing) the voice of literary conscience.”—Seamus Heaney