Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

While there is a story arc at play here (Sarah the girl becomes Sarah the wife and Sarah the mother), Ongoingness is a meditation on one writer's propensity for excess that gives way to a profound restraint.

Manguso has built a career out of cool-edged precision and it is readily apparent here she is well on her way to fully realizing her talent and has taught her pen to sing.

— From Wesley


" Manguso] has written the memoir we didn't realize we needed." --The New Yorker

In Ongoingness, Sarah Manguso continues to define the contours of the contemporary essay. In it, she confronts a meticulous diary that she has kept for twenty-five years. "I wanted to end each day with a record of everything that had ever happened," she explains. But this simple statement belies a terror that she might forget something, that she might miss something important. Maintaining that diary, now eight hundred thousand words, had become, until recently, a kind of spiritual practice.

Then Manguso became pregnant and had a child, and these two Copernican events generated an amnesia that put her into a different relationship with the need to document herself amid ongoing time.

Ongoingness is a spare, meditative work that stands in stark contrast to the volubility of the diary--it is a haunting account of mortality and impermanence, of how we struggle to find clarity in the chaos of time that rushes around and over and through us.

"Bold, elegant, and honest . . . Ongoingness reads variously as an addict's testimony, a confession, a celebration, an elegy." --The Paris Review

"Manguso captures the central challenge of memory, of attentiveness to life . . . A spectacularly and unsummarizably rewarding read." --Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

About the Author

Sarah Manguso is the author of three memoirs, Ongoingness, The Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay; a story collection; and two poetry collections. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches at St. Mary's College.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781555977658
ISBN-10: 1555977650
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: December 6th, 2016
Pages: 104
Language: English