A Year in Reading: Joshua Ferris

December 7, 2009 | 3 books mentioned 3

covercovercoverI had the great pleasure of reading Sarah Manguso’s memoir The Two Kinds of Decay, a spare, unsentimental account of her fight against a rare autoimmune disorder. Manguso brings to the memoir a poet’s attention to line breaks and white space, which amplify the chilling juxtapositions and naked declarations of her monumental physical struggle. It’s a rare form for the memoir, one that perfectly suits its subject.

Holly Goddard-Jones wrote a sad, dark, honest-spoken collection of stories called Girl Trouble, set in rural Kentucky—all eight of them 80-proof and among my favorites of the year.

And I’ve just finished the lion’s share of essays in Zadie Smith’s collection Changing My Mind. I think Smith the best critic of her generation, maybe the best mind altogether. Certainly no one has written a more loving critical appraisal of David Foster Wallace than she has in the final essay, where she makes a convincing case that Wallace’s difficulty and maddening recursion was not purposeful obfuscation, but the manifestation of his commitment to making meaningful human connection on the page.

More from A Year in Reading

's first novel, Then We Came to the End, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and was a National Book Award finalist. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, and Tin House, among others. His new novel, The Unnamed, will be published in January 2010. He lives in New York.

3 comments:

  1. I finished Zadie Smith’s book last night and I must say, it was an enjoyable read. I got so many suggestions for new books to read. The only downside I’d say about the book was that I hadn’t read some of the books her essays were on and it made it a little hard to get thru.

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