Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

This book is labelled a memoir, but it is really a rather philosophical meditation on memory.  Manguso spends much of her life recording her life...meticulously.  It often takes her away from the moment, but it also feels unbearable to forget.  Beautiful, complex, and yet so simple.  How do we handle losing moments we hold dear?  How do our minds alter them unintentionally with every remembrance? I don't want to forget her book, even though with time it seems nearly inevitable.

— From Sarah

March '15 Indie Next List

“Ongoingness is at once a calm analysis and a feverishly whispered confession. Built around the 'dark matter' of Manguso's 800,000-word diary, each capsule-sized entry is a meditation on memory, mortality, and what we leave behind -- both tangible and not. Highly recommended for fans of Joan Didion's The White Album and Leslie Jamison's The Empathy Exams.”
— Sarah Hollenbeck, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL


" Manguso] has written the memoir we didn't realize we needed." --The New Yorker

In Ongoingness, Sarah Manguso continues to define the contours of the contemporary essay. In it, she confronts a meticulous diary that she has kept for twenty-five years. "I wanted to end each day with a record of everything that had ever happened," she explains. But this simple statement belies a terror that she might forget something, that she might miss something important. Maintaining that diary, now eight hundred thousand words, had become, until recently, a kind of spiritual practice.

Then Manguso became pregnant and had a child, and these two Copernican events generated an amnesia that put her into a different relationship with the need to document herself amid ongoing time.

Ongoingness is a spare, meditative work that stands in stark contrast to the volubility of the diary--it is a haunting account of mortality and impermanence, of how we struggle to find clarity in the chaos of time that rushes around and over and through us.

"Bold, elegant, and honest . . . Ongoingness reads variously as an addict's testimony, a confession, a celebration, an elegy." --The Paris Review

"Manguso captures the central challenge of memory, of attentiveness to life . . . A spectacularly and unsummarizably rewarding read." --Maria Popova, Brain Pickings

About the Author

Sarah Manguso is the author of three memoirs, Ongoingness, The Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay; a story collection; and two poetry collections. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches at St. Mary's College.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781555977030
ISBN-10: 1555977030
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication Date: March 3rd, 2015
Pages: 104
Language: English