The Art of Memoir

By Mary Karr,

Book cover of The Art of Memoir

Book description

Credited with sparking the current memoir explosion, Mary Karr's The Liars' Club spent more than a year at the top of the New York Times list. She followed with two other smash bestsellers: Cherry and Lit, which were critical hits as well. For thirty years Karr has also taught the…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Art of Memoir as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book is a blast to read and also packed with insight (the Holy Grail, no?) It’s a collection of short chapters on a wide range of questions that either a baby or seasoned memoirist might ask. How do I find my voice? How do I organize my material? Am I betraying my family? (When Karr asked her own mom if she minded being outed as a knife-wielding alcoholic who set her children’s toys on fire, Mrs. Karr apparently replied: “Oh hell, the whole town knew about that.”) Karr draws on her extensive experience as a best-selling memoirist and teacher…

Mary Karr brings the lively irreverent voice found in her classic memoir The Liar’s Club to this inspiring guide to the memoir craft. Offering excerpts from her favorite memoirs, stories other successful writers have shared with her over the years, and honest examples from her own struggles on and off the page, Karr addresses not just the difficulties of forming sentences and writing powerful scenes but also the more complex emotional challenges of writing about one’s own pain and heartbreak. Simultaneously practical and inspirational, The Art of Memoir contains Karr’s energy and amazing wit on every page.

From Dinty's list on for essayists and memoirists.

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