Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (Hardcover)
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.