New Yorker Vivian Gornick – journalist, essayist, critic and author of 11 books including a biography of the anarchist Emma Goldman – is also the queen of the personal narrative. Her reputation as such was made with the publication of her first memoir Fierce Attachment (1987), about her relationship with her overbearing mother. Her latest foray into the genre The Odd Woman & the City covers a lot of ground: friendship, feminism, class, sex, living alone at 79, and New York. It’s part paean and part elegy – Gornick spoke for many of us recently when she told The Paris Review that she would have liked to have been invited to better parties. She talks with Jolisa Gracewood about personal narratives, both on and off the page.
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