The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories

The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories

3.9 19
by Marina Keegan, Emily Woo Zeller

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An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world's attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.See more details below


An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world's attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Journalist and playwright (whose musical Independents was a prize-winning selection in the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival) Keegan’s posthumous collection, with an introduction by Anne Fadiman, serves as a tribute to the author, who died in a car crash in 2012, five days after graduating Yale University. The book illuminates the optimism and neurosis felt by new grads everywhere: “The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young.” Though the collection features more fiction than non-, the author’s voice is similar in both. Her essays hide musings about her life and relationships under innocuous subjects: her mother’s over-protectiveness about Keegan’s celiac disease, for example, leads Keegan to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a parent. In her fiction, the thematic preoccupations are closer to the surface, such as the relationship definition problems a girl faces when the boy she was “involved, of course, but not associated ” suddenly dies. Like every millennial who’s seen irony elevated to an art form, Keegan brings self-awareness to the collective insecurity of her peers, even as she captures it with a precision that only comes from someone who feels it too. How unfortunate that she will never know the value readers will find in her work. Agent: Lane Zachary, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. (Apr.)
J.R. Moehringer
“In her brief life Marina Keegan managed to achieve a precocious literary mastery. Her wry, wise, lyrical voice is unforgettable, and her vital, exuberant spirit reminds us powerfully to seize the day. Though every sentence throbs with what might have been, this remarkable collection is ultimately joyful and inspiring, because it represents the wonder that she was.”
Harold Bloom
"I will never cease mourning the loss of my beloved former student Marina Keegan. This book gives partial evidence of the extraordinary promise that departed with her. Throughout she manifests authentic dramatic invention and narrative skill. Beyond all those, she makes a vital appeal to everyone in her generation not to waste their gifts in mere professionalism but instead to invest their youthful pride and exuberance both in self-development and in the improvement of our tormented society.”
Anne Fadiman
"Many of my students sound forty years old. They are articulate but derivative, their own voices muffled by their desire to skip over their current age and experience, which they fear trivial, and land on some version of polished adulthood without passing Go. Marina was twenty-one and sounded twenty-one: a brainy twenty-one, a twenty-one who knew her way around the English language, a twenty-one who understood that there were few better subjects than being young and uncertain and starry-eyed and frustrated and hopeful. When she read her work aloud around our seminar table, it would make us snort with laughter, and then it would turn on a dime and break our hearts."
Jennifer DuBois
"Funny, poignant, tender, and fiercely alive, 'The Opposite of Loneliness' contains the keen observations of a short lifetime—and the wisdom of a much longer one."
Deborah Treisman
“The writing Marina Keegan left behind offers a tantalizing taste of a literary voice still in development, yet already imbued with unusual insight, nuance, humor, and sensitivity.”
The Improper Bostonian
"A talented voice, silenced too soon, endures...throughout there are reminders of the talent of this forever-22-year-old."
Elite Daily
"The ultimate summer read for Gen-Y, by Gen-Y."
Detroit News
"Full of uncanny wisdom...Marina would not want to be remembered because she was dead. She would want to be remembered because she’s good. No worries there, Marina. You left us aching for more."
The Economist
Ms. Keegan takes on the meaningful and mundane with wit and grace. Her words alternatively swagger and tiptoe.... Reading this book is both heartbreaking and entertaining."
"The Opposite of Loneliness captures in both fiction and nonfiction [Keegan's] adventures in love and lust, the weird bliss of being stoned, and, as she writes, what it’s like to see 'everything in the world build up and then everything in the world fall down again.'"
O Magazine
“Two years after a young writer’s death, her words soar. . . . The Opposite of Loneliness...sparkles with talent, humanity, and youth. The prose, polished but thoroughly unselfconscious, is heartbreaking evidence of what could have been.”
Yale Alumni Magazine
"A bittersweet, what-might-have-been book filled with youthful optimism, energy, honesty, and beyond-her-years wisdom."
Chicago Tribune
"Remarkable... a compelling literary voice... the appeal of this collection is its improvisational quality, its feeling of being unfinished but always questioning."
People Magazine
"How do you mourn the loss of a fiery talent that was barely a tendril before it was snuffed out? Answer: Read this book. A clear-eyed observer of human nature, [Keegan] could take a clever idea...and make it something beautiful."
Nicholas Kristof
"A triumph...Keegan was right to prod us all to reflect on what we seek from life."
Pittsburgh-Post Gazette
"The Opposite of Loneliness does [Keegan's] talent and memory justice, both as a picture of a generation entering adulthood and as a highly personal portrait of a gifted young woman."
Joseph P. Kahn
“What a gift Keegan has left behind. Not only in her written words...but also in her legacy of social activism and fierce belief in leading a life of purpose, not privilege.
The New Republic
“Keegan’s fiction… is built around the kind of empathetic extrapolation that makes for all the best realism… Keegan would have been—would have continued to be—a star. She would have been famous, not quietly or vaguely, but really, really famous.”
“[Keegan ] was one of the most present, incisive, and hopeful writers.… That’s the gift and the pain of her book. How incredible, how lucky, that we get to read her words, that people who never knew her or her work can find it for themselves, that she was in some way given the chance to speak to the world the way she wanted.”
“A glimpse of a young woman who is growing as a writer and a person, someone who’s thinking deeply about love and the world around her and the scale of the universe….I have no doubt she would have been great.”
“In the little time [Keegan] graced the world she created a life’s work many writers could only dream of achieving in decades.”
Rewire Me
“This posthumous collection of essays and short stories is beautiful and brilliant, young but not childish—just like the author was. Every essay is a gem you want to pick up and put in your pocket, taking it out from time to time to see how it looks in different lights—the lights of promise and potential, yearning and memory. The Opposite of Loneliness will make people cry and hope.”
New York Magazine Kevin Roose
“The loveliest piece of writing I’ve ever seen from someone so young… Her voice is steady and often very funny, her senses of character and pace are frighteningly good, and the flow of her prose is easy to get carried away by. She wasn't just college-talented; she was talented, period.”
The Hartford Courant
“A new voice of her generation.”
"Wonderful... Marina Keegan did that thing we all want to do as writers: say what everyone else is thinking, but better."
The Huffington Post
From the Publisher
"Keegan brings self-awareness to the collective insecurity of her peers even as she captures it with a precision that only comes from someone who feels it too. How unfortunate that she will never know the value readers will find in her work." —Publishers Weekly
Library Journal - Audio
Newly graduated from Yale, about to start a job at the New Yorker, Keegan was killed in a car accident when her boyfriend fell asleep at the wheel. With her death, the world lost a most promising writer. This work is a compilation of essays and stories, some found on her accident-damaged laptop, others from class assignments, and the title essay originally printed in the Yale Daily News that went viral after her death. The introduction to Marina's writing life, composed by her professor and friend Anne Fadiman, is both informing and poignant. Keegan's voice is clear, passionate, and both uncertain and wise through the whole collection. Narrator Emily Woo Zeller understands that distinctive voice and delivers a strong performance through the entire audiobook. The only quibble is a technical one: not enough space is left between each entry. VERDICT Listeners will be looking for more from this author, but, sadly, there is no more.—Ann Brownson, Eastern Illinois Univ. Lib., Charleston
Kirkus Reviews
A collection of essays and short stories by a Yale graduate whose untimely death at age 22 cut short a promising journalistic and literary career. Keegan graduated from Yale as a literary golden girl with a position awaiting her at the New Yorker. But before she could even begin her job, she was killed in a car crash. This book brings together a sampling of some of Keegan's fiction and nonfiction in homage to what could have been had this remarkable young woman lived to fulfill her potential. The first section brings together short stories that showcase Keegan's ability to probe the murky, often unspoken emotional depths that haunt all relationships with fearlessness, lucidity and sensitivity. Not all of her fictional pieces, which focus primarily on exploring male/female and family dynamics, are equally strong. But they are always thoughtful, intelligent, and surprising and reveal a writer eager to find her literary voice by taking risks with both form and content. At their best, they are ferociously insightful. The second section includes essays, most of which appeared in the Yale Daily News or the Yale Herald. With wit, style and verve, Keegan explores everything from her lifelong struggle with celiac disease to a day in the life of a professional exterminator. Her most affecting pieces, however, are about the members of her own generation, many of whom feel strong, sometimes-overwhelming social pressure to seek validation in well-paying but unfulfilling jobs. "We can't, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility," she writes, "because in the end, it's all we have." As humane as it is sympathetic, Keegan's work is a poignantly inspiring reminder of what is possible in the pursuit of dreams. A well-deserved tribute to a talented young writer.

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Product Details

Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
MP3 - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)

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