The Merry Recluse: A Life in Essays
Caroline Knapp's was one of this country's most intelligent, graceful and humorous voices in memoir. In Drinking: A Love Story, she homed in on the often unspeakable fears and longings that led to her alcoholism and back again. In Pack of Two, she trained her eye on the bonds between human and animals. And in Appetites: Why Women Want, she brought her rigorous scrutiny to the ways in which culture shapes a woman's body and her hunger. Now, with The Merry Recluse: A Life in Essays, Knapp shows us that her vision through a wider lens is as brilliant as through a narrow one. This collection of essays spanning fifteen years of witty, thoughtful, provocative observations on modern culture and women's lives, paints the fullest picture of this wonderful writer that we've yet seen. It's also a remarkably full portrait of a writing life, showing how the same themes can engage -- and expand -- over a lifetime. Here are Knapp's major preoccupations, with work and love, with growth and loss, with distance and intimacy. Here also, her ongoing attempt to balance the life of solitude she preferred with the more public life her writing demanded. Solitude, shyness, cereal for dinner, the fine line between boredom and lust, why women ask stupid questions, mastering the art of healthful self-deception -- subjects that are universally poignant while charming, funny and incisive -- are explored in both long, thoughtful pieces and light, hilarious essays. This collection shows not only the evolution of a writer, but the delight she took in the process, continually questioning, searching and evaluating as she sought to find -- and write about -- the truth. Book jacket.