In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal

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In Brief: Short Takes on the Personal

Publisher: W. W. Norton & CompanyFormat: Paperback

In their previous collection Judith Kitchen and Mary Paumier Jones coined the term “short” for those creative nonfiction pieces - literary rather than informational, and characteristically short - that are attracting our finest writers. Now, with a more introspective focus, this new collection emphasizes the personal as “a way of seeing the world, of expressing an interior life. It is intimate without being maudlin, it is private without being secret.” From Harriet Doerr's recollection of a halcyon time to Josephine Jacobsen's reverie on memory, In Brief offers vivid glimpses into the ways experience can be shaped in language that is fresh and inventive. The seventy-two authors here include the known - John McPhee, Cythia Ozick, James Salter - as well as remarkable new writers. Essays (all under 2000 words) range from Frank McCourt's search for his father in the pubs of Limerick to William Maxwell's thoughts about growing old; from Charles Baxter's early experience of reading to Brady Udall's confession as a liar. Patricia Hampl recalls meals at her grandmother's house, while Jane Brox contemplates the meaning of bread. In each piece, imagination becomes a way to explore reality. The real world we are fortunate enough to live in is revealed as endlessly rich and deep.

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