Memoir & Essay

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Ghost Story

Ghost Story

ONE AFTERNOON, just as light is beginning to pale in the crescent window under the rafters, a woman going through old boxes in her grandparents’ attic comes across a sheaf of photographs: in them he...

Where Danger Is

Where Danger Is

CRITICAL AND TERRITORIAL in my nature, not easily impressed by my fellow essayists, I will here cede territory and admit to being impressed, more than impressed, by the vigorously growing oeuvre of Re...

All in the Family

All in the Family

IN 1968 RICHARD BLANCO’S parents decided to emigrate from Castro’s Cuba. They arrived first in Madrid, where Blanco was born in a hospital run by Catholic nuns. A few weeks later, the family was a...

Working the Beat on S Street

Working the Beat on S Street

THE DAY BEFORE I finished reading Ruben Castaneda’s memoir I left my office at Howard University and walked to the neighborhood he described in his book. It took me about 15 minutes. I walked down...

Speaking of Memory: Nabokov’s Folded Fabric

Speaking of Memory: Nabokov’s Folded Fabric

EARLY IN THE PAGES of his memoir, Speak, Memory, Vladimir Nabokov confesses that he is a “chronophobic,” that he in fact not only fears but also doesn’t “believe in time,” that he is less im...

The Art of the Essay

The Art of the Essay

WHAT MAKES a personal essay work, an essay that is partly about the writer and partly about something or someone else? This genre has a long, rich history, and Icon, edited by Amy Scholder and publish...

The Navel-Gazer’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Navel-Gazer’s Guide to the Galaxy

WHAT CONSTITUTES self-involvement, exactly? If I told you an entertaining story about the existential dread that befell me as my parents moved from one run-down desert town to another, would you consi...

Unearthing the Fossils of Shame

Unearthing the Fossils of Shame

“CHILDHOOD WAS TERRIFYING for me,” said Mary Karr in an interview in The Paris Review. “A kid has no control. You’re three feet tall, flat broke, unemployed, and illiterate. Terror snaps you a...

Home in the Hinterland

Home in the Hinterland

The following is a feature article from the new intern issue of the Los Angeles Review of Books: The Magazine. The issue, which our interns produced as part of this past summer's LARB Publishing Cour...

On Risk and Personal Belief

On Risk and Personal Belief

Pestilence is in fact very common, but we find it hard to believe in a pestilence when it descends upon us. There have been as many plagues in the world as there have been wars, yet plagues and wars a...

The Era of the Geographically Confused

The Era of the Geographically Confused

MY LIFE IS FUNDAMENTALLY ABSURD: this is a line that engraved itself on my mind after reading Jane Jeong Trenka’s 2005 memoir, The Language of Blood, some years ago. The book documents Trenka’s ex...

The Lost and the Found

The Lost and the Found

IN THE FIRST chapter of Will Boast’s haunting memoir, Epilogue, we learn about his father’s death on a Wisconsin interstate from a ruptured ulcer that most likely had been killing him for days. D...