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The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories Paperback – April 14, 2015
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"An American Duchess" by Caroline Fyffe
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"I will never cease mourning the loss of my beloved former student Marina Keegan. This book gives partial evidence of the extraordinary promise that departed with her. Throughout she manifests authentic dramatic invention and narrative skill. Beyond all those, she makes a vital appeal to everyone in her generation not to waste their gifts in mere professionalism but instead to invest their youthful pride and exuberance both in self-development and in the improvement of our tormented society.” -- Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities and English, Yale University
"Many of my students sound forty years old. They are articulate but derivative, their own voices muffled by their desire to skip over their current age and experience, which they fear trivial, and land on some version of polished adulthood without passing Go. Marina was twenty-one and sounded twenty-one: a brainy twenty-one, a twenty-one who knew her way around the English language, a twenty-one who understood that there were few better subjects than being young and uncertain and starry-eyed and frustrated and hopeful. When she read her work aloud around our seminar table, it would make us snort with laughter, and then it would turn on a dime and break our hearts." -- Anne Fadiman, Yale University Professor of English and Francis Writer in Residence and author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down and Ex Libris
"Illuminates the optimism and neurosis felt by new grads everywhere. . .Like every millenial who's seen irony elevated to an art form, Keegan brings self-awareness to the collective insecurity of her peers even as she captures it with a precision that only comes from someone who feels it too. How unfortunate that she will never know the value readers will find in her work.", Publishers Weekly
"Funny, poignant, tender, and fiercely alive, 'The Opposite of Loneliness' contains the keen observations of a short lifetime—and the wisdom of a much longer one." -- Jennifer DuBois, author of Cartwheel and A Partial History of Lost Causes
“The writing Marina Keegan left behind offers a tantalizing taste of a literary voice still in development, yet already imbued with unusual insight, nuance, humor, and sensitivity.” -- Deborah Treisman, Fiction Editor, "The New Yorker"
“Two years after a young writer’s death, her words soar. . . . The Opposite of Loneliness...sparkles with talent, humanity, and youth. The prose, polished but thoroughly unselfconscious, is heartbreaking evidence of what could have been.”, O Magazine
"A bittersweet, what-might-have-been book filled with youthful optimism, energy, honesty, and beyond-her-years wisdom.", Yale Alumni Magazine
"The Opposite of Loneliness captures in both fiction and nonfiction [Keegan's] adventures in love and lust, the weird bliss of being stoned, and, as she writes, what it’s like to see 'everything in the world build up and then everything in the world fall down again.'", Elle
"Remarkable... a compelling literary voice... the appeal of this collection is its improvisational quality, its feeling of being unfinished but always questioning.", Chicago Tribune
About the Author
- Item Weight : 8 ounces
- Paperback : 256 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1476753911
- ISBN-13 : 978-1476753911
- Product Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.38 inches
- Publisher : Scribner; Reprint Edition (April 14, 2015)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #300,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I was set up to be disappointed. I typically hate short stories. As far as I’m concerned it’s like eating one fun sized Snickers or reading one chapter in a book. Who does that? Once I started on this collection, I consumed the remainder within 18 hours despite work interruptions (No, I did not play hooky though extremely tempting). These stories had me alternating between tears, hope, thoughtfulness and joy. Read this book. Remember what it was like to be 22, and find an amazing collection of work infused with energy and enthusiasm.
Who should read it? Just buy it. Even you non-readers can handle short stories!
See all my reviews and more at www.ReadingToDistraction.com or follow on Twitter @Read2Distract
A collection of scraps and pieces from the tragically extinguished life of a bright young woman reminds us again that a society must embrace the truth and candor of youth to save itself from the opportunistic mob of decaying liars, swindlers and self-serving fear-mongers who would drag it into darkness.
Give this book to your teenage daughters and granddaughters, and ask them to take up the torch that Marina Keegan barely had a chance to light.
The essays were the best of the book though. The short stories were good they were just a little well, weirdly, I thought cold and distant for most of them. However I related to all the essays. The author had a great grasp of language and writing and I wish I could have read more of her writing. The titled essay The Opposite of Loneliness was my favorite of all of them.
Her writing does touch a lot on mortality and I wonder if it wouldn't have stood out so without the author's untimely death. I always wonder when I read about people like her who did so much in such a short time and seemed to think so much about mortality did some little part of them know they wouldn't have long? Who knows? In that respect it also made the book feel a lot more personal to me than it might other wise have. But that's only my opinion and reading of it.
I'd recommend this one to everyone but especially for people Marina's age or younger.
Top reviews from other countries
Marina Keegan is described as an American author that passed away five days after graduating from college in 2012, but she is more than that. The Opposite of Loneliness is a collection of her short stories and personal essays, all of which were chosen by Anne Fadiman (her college professor and friend) after Marina's death. She is remembered as the talented writer that died after her graduation, but for me that doesn't do her justice. She wasn't just a writer, she was a story-teller, she had, and still has, the capability to draw people into a world and make them feel, she has the power to delve into the mind of a complete stranger and make it feel like you are the only person in the world that matters. She is not her death, she is her words, her beautiful descriptions, her understanding of the human soul, and so much more.
What is it about
The book is a collection of short stories and essays, all of which explore human emotion; from the old woman that strips off to read to a blind man, to Marina's personal essay on having Celiac disease, each piece leaves you feeling - feeling what? Well, that's up to the individual reader, but for me, the more I read on, the more I wanted to escape my life and become a better human.
Within the short amount of space that we are given to learn about her characters, their lives and their stories, we end up learning more about ourselves through their very creation. What would we do in that situation? How would we react to this? and most importantly, how will our present effect our future?
In the short story, Reading Aloud is the line 'aging is harder for beautiful people' and a first I thought nothing of it, but I came back to it and I kept coming back to it. She was right. In those six words, in a singular short story, she has opened up an entire world of debate, understanding and discovery. Whether she knew it or not, Marina was a genius.
It should be on every university reading list - especially her article titled "Even Artichokes have Doubts" which applies to Yale and the consultancy industry but could equally be applied to any university or college anywhere in the world.
Her short stories were well written and typical of a 22 year old as she wrote about what she knew. They were easily identifiable and thought provoking.