Ongoingness The End of a Diary

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 3/3/2015
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press

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“[Manguso] has written the memoir we didn’t realize we needed.” —The New Yorker

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.

“Bold, elegant, and honest . . . Ongoingness reads variously as an addict’s testimony, a confession, a celebration, an elegy.” —The Paris Review

“Manguso captures the central challenge of memory, of attentiveness to life . . . A spectacularly and unsummarizably rewarding read.” —Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

Author Biography

Sarah Manguso is the author of two memoirs, The Guardians and The Two Kinds of Decay; two poetry collections; and a short-story collection. Born and raised near Boston, she was educated at Harvard and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She lives in Los Angeles.

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