Tuesday, May 14, 2013
National Book Award finalist for A Slant of Sun, one of her several memoirs, Kephart (creative nonfiction, Univ. of Pennsylvania) has composed a gorgeous meditation on memoir. The author has achieved what few do in the crowded field of writing guides: she has created a work of art simply by reflecting on her own art—the writing and teaching of memoir. In four eloquent parts, Kephart introduces readers to the basic principles of memoir construction, suggests many writing prompts for navigating memories, and discusses the issues of describing living relatives and friends and of striving for accuracy. The book’s highest value lies in the author’s long experience with the memoir genre and its students. She writes with the same lyricism found in her own works and offers here passionate encouragement for would-be memoir writers to embrace truth and empathy, mystery and exploration. Drawing from classroom and personal examples, Kephart introduces readers to the delicate balance that creates the most honest and accomplished memoirs. An appendix of suggested memoirs for reading, grouped by category with generous annotations, is included. VERDICT Highly recommended for anyone interested in the anatomy of a successful memoir and for all writers of literary nonfiction.—Stacey Rae Brownlie, Harrisburg Area Community Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA
Enormous gratitude to Stacey Rae Brownlie. Thank you for your generosity.