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The Chronology of Water: A Memoir Paperback – April 1, 2011
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"I've read Ms. Yuknavitch's book The Chronology of Water, cover to cover, a dozen times. I am still reading it. And I will, most likely, return to it for inspiration and ideas, and out of sheer admiration, for the rest of my life. The book is extraordinary." Chuck Palahniuk, Pygmy
"I love this book and I am thankful that Lidia Yuknavitch has written it for me and for everyone else who has ever had to sometimes kind of work at staying alive. It’s about the body, brain, and soul of a woman who has managed to scratch up through the slime and concrete and crap of life in order to resurrect herself. The kind of book Janis Joplin might have written if she had made it through the fire - raw, tough, pure, more full of love than you thought possible and sometimes even hilarious. This is the book Lidia Yuknavitch was put on the planet to write for us." Rebecca Brown, author of The Gifts of the Body
"The Chronology of Water’s central metaphor works beautifully: we all keep our heads above water, look around, and enjoy our corporeal life despite all the reasons not to; beyond that, the book is immensely impressive to me on a human level: the narrator/speaker/protagonist/author emerges from a seriously hellish childhood and spooky adolescence into a middle age not of bliss, certainly, but of convincing engagement and satisfaction." David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto
"This intensely powerful memoir touches depths yet unheard of in contemporary writing. I read it at one sitting and wondered for days after about love, time, and truth. Can't get me any more excited than this." Andrei Codrescu, author of The Poetry Lesson
"Flooded with light and incandescent beauty, Lidia Yuknavitch's The Chronology of Water cuts through the heart of the reader. These fierce life stories gleam, fiery images passing just beneath the surface of the pages. You will feel rage, fear, release, and joy, and you will not be able to stop reading this deeply brave and human voice." Diana Abu-Jaber, Origin: A Novel
"Lidia Yuknavitch’s memoir The Chronology of Water is a brutal beauty bomb and a true love song. Rich with story, alive with emotion, both merciful and utterly merciless, I am forever altered by every stunning page. This is the book I’m going to press into everyone’s hands for years to come. This is the book I've been waiting to read all of my life." Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild
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Top Customer Reviews
If you take any kind of creative writing classes, or study literature at the college level you will already be familiar with the push toward legitimizing creative non-fiction memoirs. On a fundamental level I'm not really interested in that debate. If someone's writing can hold my attention, entertain, and get me to engage with their text, I'm on board. Fiction, poetry, non-fiction, or mix genre. Good writing stands on its own and transcends any genre. However, the prose in "The Chronology of Water" is premeditated and forced. It reads like any other self-obsessed MFA non-fiction essay awaiting rejection in a lit mag slush pile. It's another example of how this genre is failing to launch.
On a line level the prose is highly pretentious and indulges in narcissistic self-aware faux avant-garde technique applied ad naseum. I'm all for a poignant fragment, but technique applied without reason or restraint renders the attempts into literary gimmicks (e.g. artsy-fartsy nonsense). At the line-level the book will drive an attentive reader bonkers. Anyone foreign to the MFA artsy-fartsy culture will just think there are a lot of typos and bad editing.
Which perhaps could be forgiven if the substance were weighty enough. Frankly, I feel that Yuknavitch is an unreliable narrator of her own life. I certainly don't believe in the truth of this memoir part and parcel. I believe only in Yuknavitch's desire to shock and awe the reader at any cost. All the up-close and personal details feel pimped and slimy. The events are not so much exposed and explored as they are posed and marketed.Read more ›
I can deal with stories that are all style, no substance––as long as it's good style. The frustrating thing here is that there is obviously a ton of substance to be found in Yuknavitch's life but she tries too hard to play word games which aren't half as new or interesting as she thinks they are. The genuinely touching moments get lost in all that static. She proudly proclaims that she's a "weird" writer ("'Experimental' sounds dumb, and 'Innovative' sounds strangely snooty") who likes to break the rules of language, but none of that creativity is displayed here. It's not experimental and definitely not innovative to use the same tired, cliché phrase over and over again in a >300 page book, but I guess it could be weird. Or lazy. Or maybe just bad writing.
There are … dramatic pauses that would make any adolescent diarist proud. They happen … quite often. There are lots of run-on sentences I mean it's to convey the urgency and the wonder and the breathtaking beauty and drama and the whole everything of everything of it all but you know when it happens so often and watch out here's a wordbond I just made up wow isn't that cool and edgy and awesome and really my point is that after a while these blocks of text get exhausting and not in a good way. They lose their effect and it becomes a chore to slog through them.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I liked the way this book is written. The author has a very unique style. It is beautiful actually. However, I almost put the book down after the second half. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Marjorie
Beautiful prose and endless layers of depth. This book came to me as magic at a critical moment in life. Thank you to the author for her bravery and honesty. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
Difficult read. I liked her in person but I have yet to make it through the book. Not sure that I will.Published 22 days ago by Ginny Stack
The author writes so colorfully it's as though each chapter is a pill that you swallow and then feel it's effect within your body. Read morePublished 22 days ago by A. R. Morganstein
I adore this book and this writer. I didn't want it to end, I think this should be required reading for all 20 - something women who are struggling to figure out their place in the... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Booklovermom
Great memoir. Great writing. Very honest. Very raw. Loved this.Published 1 month ago by JULIE A BERTSCH