Just out: The Best Creative Nonfiction, Vol. 1


In bookstores now. Just got my contributor’s copy this week. Here’s the PW review that came out and mentions my piece.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This anthology, an offshoot of the journal Creative Nonfiction, kicks off an annual series drawing together the best representatives of a fertile (if ill-defined) genre still struggling for recognition. In his introduction, Gutkind tries to clarify the subject, a seeming “contradiction in terms,” but the pieces speak for themselves, blending precise research and astute observation with flavorful, fascinating narratives. Carol Smith, a reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, contributes an account of “The Cipher in Room 214,” a 1996 female suicide found in a downtown Seattle hotel who left behind no clues as to her identity; Eula Biss details powerfully her experience with chronic illness by riffing off the 0-10 scale on which her doctors ask her to rank her pain. Most pieces are first-person, memoir-style accounts-writers include a former stripper, a fatally ill man, a narcoleptic and a prosopagnosic (a woman who can’t recognize faces)-but a smattering of profiles include an insightful Poets & Writers piece by Daniel Nester on notoriously over-creative nonfiction writer James Frey. Happily, Gutkind reaches several steps beyond the literary journal scene-blog excerpts turn up, and a piece on the secret language of hackers (or “h4ck3rs”) comes from John McPhee’s Princeton University creative nonfiction class-to find a wide range of topics and styles; though some selections are stronger than others, the richness of the “real” makes the anthology work as a cohesive whole.

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