With the big subjects of life and death framing the smaller frustrations of everyday existence, this third volume in the Creative Nonfiction series showcases a type of journalism that in many ways is informed by cutting-edge media. Indeed, of the 25 essays reprinted, one-quarter first appeared on the Web. As diverse as the subjects are, so are the writers represented. Likewise, there is a range in length, from blogs under one page to 20-page narratives. Predictably, the essays also display varying levels of inspiration and sparkle. Among the standouts is five-time Pushcart winner Brenda Miller on a girl's changing relationship with her body as she grows into womanhood; Edwidge Danticat on an uncle's love of the ultimate expletive; an emotional "Letter from a Japanese Crematorium" by Marie Mutsuki Mockett; a family car deal gone awry by Margaret Conway; an exploration of the meaning of the mass murders at Virginia Tech through the sad eyes of gunman Seung-Hui Cho by Wesley Yang. The energetic Gutkind (Almost Human) edits his lean anthology with panache and gusto. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Best Creative Nonfictionby Lee Gutkind (Editor)
Anyone still asking, “What is creative nonfiction?” will find the answer in this collection of artfully crafted, true stories. Selected by Lee Gutkind, the “godfather behind creative nonfiction
“Intelligent but accessible, and often poignant . . . [by] the biggest talents on the essay and blog beat.” Publishers Weekly (on Vol. 2)
Anyone still asking, “What is creative nonfiction?” will find the answer in this collection of artfully crafted, true stories. Selected by Lee Gutkind, the “godfather behind creative nonfiction,” and the staff of Creative Nonfiction, these storiesranging from immersion journalism to intensely personal essaysillustrate the genre’s power and potential. Edwidge Danticat recalls her Uncle Moise’s love of a certain four-letter word and finds in his abandonment of the word near the end of his life the true meaning of exile. In “Literary Murder,” Julianna Baggott traces her roots as a novelist to her family’s “strange, desperate (sometimes conniving and glorious) past” and writes about her decision, in The Madam, to kill off a character based on her grandfather. And Sean Rowe explains why, if you must get arrested, Selma, Alabama, is the place to do it. This exciting and expansive array of works and voices is sure to impress and delight.
Creative nonfiction is writing that is factually accurate and composed with attention to literary style and technique. Gutkind, editor of all three volumes of The Best Creative Nonfiction, describes creative nonfiction as a form originating in journalism that "allows writers to tell storiesconfessions, explorations, apologies." In this third volume, Gutkind contends that all the "writers…collected here grapple with life" through "the careful use of words." The contributors explore a wide range of topics. For example, in "Literary Murder," Julianna Baggott describes the creation of a novel based on her family's history. In "Letter from a Japanese Crematorium," Marie Mutsuki Mockett explains the importance of preserving some bone during the cremation process and reveals her resistance to being labeled an outsider by her Japanese relatives. Finally, Dawnelle Wilkie presents a factual account of aborting a fetus in "What Comes Out." VERDICT For the most part, the writing in this collection is powerfulthe essays and blogs entertain, inform, and inspire. Followers of contemporary issues presented in compelling prose will devour.Kathryn R. Bartelt, Univ. of Evansville Libs., IN
Kathryn R. Bartelt
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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Meet the Author
Lee Gutkind is the founder and editor of the literary journal Creative Nonfiction and a pioneer in the field of narrative nonfiction. Gutkind is also the editor of In Fact and Becoming a Doctor, the author of Almost Human, and has written books about baseball, health care, travel, and technology. A Distinguished Writer in Residence at Arizona State University, he lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Tempe, Arizona.
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