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The End of a Diary
Author 1
Sarah Manguso
In Ongoingness, Sarah Manguso continues to define the contours of the contemporary essay as she confronts a meticulous diary that she has kept for twenty-five years. “I wanted to end each day with a record of everything that had ever happened,” she explains. But this simple statement belies a terror that she might forget something, that she might miss something important. Maintaining that diary, now eight hundred thousand words, had become, until recently, a kind of spiritual practice.

Then Manguso became pregnant and had a child, and these two Copernican events generated an amnesia that put her into a different relationship with the need to document herself amid ongoing time.

Ongoingness is a spare, meditative work that stands in stark contrast to the volubility of the diary—it is a haunting account of mortality and impermanence, of how we struggle to find clarity in the chaos of time that rushes around and over and through us.
“Bold, elegant, and honest. . . . Ongoingness reads variously as an addict’s testimony, a confession, a celebration, an elegy.”The Paris Review
“Manguso captures the central challenge of memory, of attentiveness to life. . . . A spectacularly and unsummarizably rewarding read.”—Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

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“[Manguso] has written the memoir we didn’t realize we needed.”The New Yorker

About the Author

Sarah  Manguso
Credit: Andy Ryan
Sarah Manguso is the author of seven books including 300 Arguments, Ongoingness, The Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay. Honors for her writing include a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize.
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  • “Exquisitely honed. . . . Written in spare, elliptical bursts of hard-won insights, this slim meditation invites quoting and mulling. . . . Manguso's insights resonate beyond her personal situation.”—
  • “[Manguso’s] prose feels twice distilled; it’s whiskey rather than beer, writing about writing about life.”—Leslie Jamison, The Atlantic
  • “Upend[s] the journal form with reflections on marriage, aging, and the selves we leave behind.”Vogue
  • “This small-sized book has immense power. Marvel at the clarity and fire.”—Zadie Smith
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