Vivian Gornick

Approaching Eye Level 1996

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‘It is [Gornick’s] particular genius to make readers feel what they are thinking … Brilliant, compelling, and cohesive.’ — Los Angeles Times

A classic essay collection, published for the first time in the UK, from the author of Fierce Attachments, recently voted the ‘Best Memoir of the Past 50 Years’ by the New York Times.

In this collection of seven personal essays, Vivian Gornick explores her need for conversation and connection, whether she’s walking the bustling streets of New York or teaching writing in sleepy university towns.

She looks back on charged summers waitressing in the Catskills, a failed friendship with an older woman and mentor, the feminist movement of the 1970s, and celebrates the moments of random recognition that are part of life in the city.

In writing that is stylish, sharp and incisive, Gornick cuts through to the heart of what it is to experience longing, loneliness, intimacy and

‘There’s more to these seven original essays than a hymn to Manhattan. There is also exploration of that most brutal and unconquerable of human sorrows, loneliness … Without even a flicker of self-pity, these short pieces bear rereading many times.’ — Publishers Weekly

‘At heart this is a book not about repose but about escalating struggle — the day-to-day struggle to face down the brutality of growing loneliness, to accept the limitations of friendship and intimacy, to honor the process of becoming oneself.’ — Mary Hawthorne, New York Times
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154 printed pages
Original publication
Daunt Books



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    Sandra Sánchezhas quoted14 days ago
    Judgement is reassuring. Absolutes. Certainties. How I have loved them. I want them back again. Can’t I have them back again?’
    Sandra Sánchezhas quoted14 days ago
    I am subsiding into melted yoghurt desperation.
    Sandra Sánchezhas quoted14 days ago
    ‘What am I gonna do?’ I looked into her eyes. ‘You’ll figure it out,’ I said.
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