A Rave in Booklist-Just Out

To die for, from Booklist 11/1/09:

"Even when writing teacher Benedict is writing fiction, she’s writing about writing—her novel Almost (2001) is about a best-selling novelist. So the subject of this irresistible anthology was a natural for her. People become writers by virtue of literary inspiration, be it a book, a place, or a mentor, so why not invite writers to write essays about their literary influences? The response was overwhelming and avid. Benedict reports, “I seemed to have hit a nerve.” What’s more, these exceptionally animated essays feel as though the writers couldn’t get the words down quickly enough. And what an array of experiences and voices. Mary Gordon remembers Elizabeth Hardwick. Sigrid Nunez shares vivid memories of Susan Sontag. Joyce Carol Oates ponders the “singular” book of her childhood, Alice in Wonderland. Carolyn See portrays her father, who at age 69 began writing hard-core pornography. Julia Glass, Dinaw Mengestu, Caryl Phillips, Jane Smiley, Jonathan Safran Foer––all share profound and moving tales of transformation that encapsulate the entire collective experience of literature, a living force tapped into, handed down, cherished."

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