I dare you, I tempt you

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Patricia Hampl's I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory remains, for me, the best book on the topic, even all these years later.  My students are reading the first two chapters this week.  They'll find passages like this one:
Maybe a reader's love of memoir is less an intrusive lust for confession than a hankering for the intimacy of this first-person voice, the deeply satisfying sense of being spoken to privately.  More than a story, we want a voice speaking softly, urgently, in our ear.  Which is to say, to our heart.  That voice carries its implacable command, the ancient murmur that called out to me in the middle of the country in the middle of the war—remember, remember (I dare you, I tempt you).


Serena said...

I think its true that those of use reading memoir are looking for someone that will talk to them...like a private conversation...its almost like we're being let in on secrets through first person.

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I've put Patricia Hampl's I Could Tell You Stories on reserve at my library. Besides reading it (or at least the first couple of chapters), what's our assignment, teacher? (Oops, I didn't sign up for the class, did I?)

Richard Gilbert said...

Thanks for reminding me of this book, which has been on my list forever. I have checked off so many classics in the last few years, but still haven't gotten to it! I WILL remedy that.

Lilian Nattel said...

That is the best inducement for writing memoir I've ever seen.

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