Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What is Eula Biss reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Eula Biss, author of Notes from No Man’s Land.

Her entry begins:
I just read Sarah Manguso’s The Two Kinds of Decay for the second time. “This is the usual sort of book about illness. Someone gets sick, someone gets well,” she writes, but that’s not true at all, except for the “someone gets sick” part, which is a grand understatement. Manguso make an art of understatement, and she refuses to allow her account of a long illness to become a narrative of redemption or a narrative of triumph. In fact, she resists allowing her meditations on suffering and “spacetime” to cohere into one continuous narrative of any sort. She offers instead a work of accrual, a series of observations that testify to the...[read on]
Among the praise for Biss' Notes from No Man’s Land:
“I fought with this book. I shouted, ‘Amen!’ I cursed at it for being so wildly wrong and right. It’s so smart, combative, surprising, and sometimes shocking that it kept me twisting and turning in my seat like I was on some kind of socio-political roller coaster ride. Eula Biss writes with equal parts beauty and terror. I love it.”
--Sherman Alexie

“Essays about America and race: I know what you’re thinking. You have absolutely no idea—how iconoclastic this book is, how unpredictable, how provocative, how complicit, how (potentially) transfiguring. An utterly beautiful and deeply serious performance.”
--David Shields

“[A]n ambitious, smart and sublime collection of essays on race and ethnicity that recently won the National Book Critic’s Circle award for criticism. Her style, like Joan Didion’s, is somewhat oblique and emotionally reserved, but rarely in a way that’s alienating or inappropriate. What drives these pieces is language, voice, and a kind of boiling moral tension....”
--Steven Church
Visit Eula Biss' website.

Writers Read: Eula Biss.

--Marshal Zeringue