Surviving Crisis: Twenty Prominent Authors Write about Events that Shaped Their Lives

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The literature of reality - also known as creative nonfiction - is the fastest-growing literary genre in the country today. Expressed in the form of essays, memoirs, articles, documentary drama, literary journalism, and narrative history, it dramatizes the truth as accurately as reportage yet is as compelling and personal as the best fiction. To celebrate this art form, Tarcher inaugurates a series of anthologies that will contain the best of published and yet-to-be-discovered writers. Highlighting events that ...
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Overview

The literature of reality - also known as creative nonfiction - is the fastest-growing literary genre in the country today. Expressed in the form of essays, memoirs, articles, documentary drama, literary journalism, and narrative history, it dramatizes the truth as accurately as reportage yet is as compelling and personal as the best fiction. To celebrate this art form, Tarcher inaugurates a series of anthologies that will contain the best of published and yet-to-be-discovered writers. Highlighting events that proved to be turning points or memorable moments of catharsis and personal growth, the stories in Surviving Crisis provide nuggets of insight from which all readers will gather wisdom, and from which practicing writers will gain the courage to put pen to paper, culling the essence of story from their own lives.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
So searing are many of the essays here that one reads them more for technique than for pleasure. And studying how to write what Gutkind calls "creative nonfiction" is largely the point to this collection, in any case, so neophytes are well served. A few of the pieces have been culled from the journal Creative Nonfiction, edited by Gutkind; most, however, are book or magazine excerpts. Several of the stories have become contemporary classics, like Robert McCrum's "My Old and New Lives," which was published originally in the New Yorker then expanded into a book of the same title. Few will be indifferent to the author's recollection of the cerebral trauma he suffered while he was alone in his London home. Another notable is the manic New Yorker piece by Marjorie Gross, "Cancer Becomes Me," which flippantly enumerates the "really good things" about being terminally ill: "You automatically get called courageous"; "Everyone returns your calls." Within months of publishing this piece, Gross died of ovarian cancer. Other writers collected here include such established names as John Edgar Wideman, who recreates his visit to his brother imprisoned for murder; Annie Dillard, whose article juxtaposes her attendance at Catholic masses with historical Polar expeditions; and TriQuarterly editor Reginald Gibbons's report on "Christmas at Juvenile Court." Several of the unfamiliar namesKathy Dobie and Florence Epstein, especiallyare writers of such promise they are unlikely to remain unfamiliar. (Sept.) FYI: Gutkind's An Unspoken Art: Profiles of Veterinary Life was reviewed in Forecasts June 23.
Library Journal
Rhett, a poet who has taught writing workshops at Johns Hopkins, the University of Iowa, and the University of San Francisco, opens with a discussion of how her book grew out of a workshop she teaches at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival on memoir of crisis. The well-written essays by 20 different authors, such as Reynolds Price and Rick Moody, all deal with difficult situations: death, divorce, insanity, serious illness, and traumatic childhoods. Similarly, Gutkind (English, Univ. of Pittsburgh), who edits the literary journal Creative Nonfiction, offers a collection of "survival" stories, though her title is something of a misnomer. Most but not all of the 20 essays treat personal situations that have shaped the lives of the authors. Exceptions are a fine essay by John McPhee, which describes the ordeal of another persona downed flyer in the Alaskan wilderness; while Carol Kloss's piece on obesity in adults seems out of place in this collection. Gutkind has written an introduction, as well as short prefaces to each essay that tell the reader what to think about the material that follows. Confessional anthologies such as these are a matter of taste. Some readers will find many of the essays brave and inspiring; others will find them undignified and wish the authors had kept their personal troubles private. Recommended for public libraries.Caroline A. Mitchell, Washington, D.C.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780788169021
  • Publisher: DIANE Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 3/1/2000
  • Pages: 238

Table of Contents

Introduction: A Search for Sanity 1
The Only Girl in the Car 10
The Incredible Journey of Leon Crane 26
Three Spheres 36
Christmas at Juvenile Court 52
Fat 58
My Old and New Lives 64
An Expedition to the Pole 80
Counting on the Heart 108
Cancer Becomes Me 114
The Dogs of Winter 118
The Mother, the Daughter, and the Holy Horse: A Trilogy 132
Killing a Turtle 158
Cold Sweat 166
Dominique 172
Proofs 186
Sixty 192
Lights of the Long Night 206
The Break 212
Canning Jars 218
At the Penitentiary 224
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