By Fiction Advocate

Dear Knausgaard: Karl Ove Knausgaard's My Struggle (...Afterwords)

Kim Adrian


The Curious Operations of Intimacy in Literature: In a series of warm and often funny letters, essayist and memoirist Kim Adrian delivers a compelling feminist critique of the 6-volume autobiographical novel My Struggle, by Norwegian writer Karl Ove Knausgaard. Adrian’s book of letters begins as a witty and entertaining response to a seminal work and transforms into a fierce and powerful interrogation of the darker social and cultural forces informing Knausgaard’s project. Through an examination of the curious operations of intimacy demanded on both sides of the page by all great literature, Dear Knausgaard ultimately provides a heartfelt celebration of the act of reading itself.

The Wanting Was a Wilderness: Cheryl Strayed's Wild and the Art of Memoir (...Afterwords)

Alden Jones


The Long Walk to the True Story: How did Cheryl Strayed turn a solo hike into an inspirational memoir, beloved by millions? Memoirist and professor Alden Jones sets out to explore why. But when a sudden personal crisis occurs while she is writing, Jones realizes she must confront some difficult truths, both in her life and on the page. The Wanting Was a Wilderness is a profoundly original work that blends criticism, craft analysis, and a memoir of Jones’s own time in the wilderness. The result is a celebration of Wild and a map of our long path to self-discovery.

Looking Was Not Enough: Jeffrey Eugenides's Middlesex (...Afterwords)

Irena Yamboliev


What Does It Mean to Transform?: Middlesex is the story of a character who changes profoundly in order to remain fundamentally himself. It’s about recognizing how risky and contingent any physical description is, and how ambiguous dualities can be blended into beautifully coherent wholes. As the child of Bulgarian immigrants, Irena Yamboliev knows what it’s like to construct your own identity. In Looking Was Not Enough, she uses her background in biology and literary scholarship to put Middlesex into conversation with Barthes, Ovid, and other texts that examine the way our gender, sex, nationality, and culture can experience a metamorphosis. The result is an illuminating theory of our own self-formations.