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Personal Essay Elevated to Art: Aleksandar Hemon’s ‘The Book of My Lives’

In the first of the linked essays in Aleksandar Hemon’s new book, he begins by remembering how his sister’s birth changed his childhood; how life would always thereafter be divided between before and after her arrival, how nothing would ever be the way it used to be. And then he reminds us, “But nothing has ever been—nor will it ever be—the way it used to be.” It’s a fitting admonition for the fraught work of memoir writing. Memory, of course, betrays us incessantly, and the creative impulse of the fiction writer is somewhat at odds with the rigors of telling …Continue reading

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