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Sarah Manguso is an American writer and poet. Her short story collection Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape (2007), was included with story collections by Dave Eggers and Deb Olin Unferth in McSweeney's One Hundred and Forty-Five Stories in a Small Box. Her poetry collections are Siste Viator (2006) and The Captain Lands in Paradise (2002). Her poetry has appeared in the London Review of Books, the New Republic, the Paris Review, the Pushcart Prize annual, and three volumes of the Best American Poetry series. Honors for her writing include a Hodder Fellowship and the Rome Prize. She has served on the faculty of the graduate writing programs at Columbia and the New School. She lives in Brooklyn.
In Ongoingness, Sarah Manguso continues to define the contours of the contemporary essay. In it, she confronts a meticulous diary that she has kept for twenty-five years. `I wanted to end each day with a record of everything that had ever happened,' she explains. But this simple statement belies a terror that she might forget something, that she might miss something important. Maintaining that diary, now eight hundred thousand words, had become, until recently, a kind of spiritual practice. Then Manguso became pregnant and had a child, and these two Copernican events generated an amnesia that put her into a different relationship with the need to document herself amid ongoing time. Ongoingness is a spare, meditative work that stands in stark contrast to the volubility of the diary - it is a haunting account of mortality and impermanence, of how we struggle to find clarity in the chaos of time that rushes around and over and through us.
'This small-sized book has immense power. Marvel at the clarity and fire.' Zadie Smith Sarah Manguso kept a meticulous diary for twenty-five years. `I wanted to end each day with a record of everything that had ever happened,' she explains. But this simple statement conceals a terror that she might miss out something important. Maintaining that diary became a daily attempt to remember every detail, to stop the passage of time. Then Manguso became pregnant and had a child, and these two events slowly and irrevocably changed her relationship to her life and also to her diary. In this moving memoir Sarah Manguso confesses her life long struggle to let go. Ongoingness is a beautiful, daring and honest and shifting work that grapples with writing and motherhood.
'Jam-packed with insights you'll want to both text to your friends and tattoo on your skin . . . A sweeping view of a human mind trying to make order of the world around us.' Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere Think of this as a short book composed entirely of what I hoped would be a long book's quotable passages. 300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso is at first glance a group of unrelated aphorisms, but the pieces reveal themselves as a masterful arrangement that steadily gathers power. Manguso's arguments about writing, desire, ambition, relationships, and failure are pithy, unsentimental, and defiant, and they add up to an unexpected and renegade wisdom literature. Lines you will underline, write in notebooks and read to the person sitting next to you, that will drift back into your mind as you try to get to sleep. '300 Arguments reads like you've jumped into someone's mind.' NPR
In 2008, one of Sarah Manguso's oldest friends discharged himself from a New York City psychiatric hospital and threw himself in front of a train; the last ten hours of his life are unaccounted for. In this new memoir, Manguso continues her attention to illness, suffering, and time's relentless forward momentum, which prevents total recovery from grief. As she did brilliantly in her first memoir, The Two Kinds of Decay, Manguso explores the insufficiency of explanation and the necessity of the imagination in making sense of anything at all.
At twenty-one, just as she was starting to comprehend the puzzles of adulthood, Sarah Manguso was faced with another: a wildly unpredictable autoimmune disease that appeared suddenly and tore through her twenties, paralysing her for weeks at a time, programming her first to expect nothing from life and then, furiously, to expect everything. In this captivating story, Manguso recalls her struggle: arduous blood cleansings, collapsed veins, multiple chest catheters, depression, the deaths of friends and strangers, addiction, and, worst of all for a writer, the trite metaphors that accompany prolonged illness. A book of tremendous grace and humour, The Two Kinds of Decay transcends the very notion of what an account of illness can and should be.