How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays

by Alexander Chee

Paperback, 2018

Call number

814 CHEE


Mariner Books (2018), 288 pages


"From the author of The Queen of the Night, an essay collection exploring how we form our identities in life, in politics, and in art" --

User reviews

LibraryThing member franoscar
I think this is a wonderful book. I found it a little slow toward the end which may have been due to some repetition, or also I was rushing to finish it, or also I was listening to a baseball game too. Overall the essays are challenging, relevant, heartbreaking, human. I loved getting to know Alexander Chee and I love him very much.… (more)
LibraryThing member berthirsch
A very special personal book of essays the sum of which relates the journey of the person and how it informs him as he struggles to create his art, in this case, writing.
LibraryThing member JBD1
A beautifully written collection of essays about writing and so much more. "The Rosary," about the author's Brooklyn garden, was a particular favorite.
LibraryThing member NML_dc
This was slow to engage me but once it did I was all the way in. The unexpected overlaps of biography (our involvements in ACT UP, for one) were a poignant pleasure.
LibraryThing member Narshkite
This is gorgeous. I read this so slowly because every word mattered. Obviously this is not a how-to book in any traditional sense, though Chee shares a great deal about the writing process, and the power of word well wielded. He also shares words of wisdom learned from his lineup of mentors. Marilynne Robinson, Annie Dillard, Deborah Eisenberg ( what a bench!) But though this is not a how-to it is in fact primer on why to write and how to live. Not how to live to be well and happy and unscathed. Chee is very much not unscathed. But a writer needs to truly live in order to be able to impart anything of value, and Chee has lived. This is a personal and political coming of age story of a Gay Korean-American boy, touched by betrayal, the loss of a parent, wealth and poverty and wealth, and the end of wealth. He uses all of those things, and a boatload of very hard work, to write as he does. In the end Chee focuses less on the how and more on the why, and if you can answer the why you are pretty much invincible. I don't know what to say except this is SO GOOD.… (more)




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