Vivian Gornick and Re-reading

Christopher Sorrentino at Bookforum:

Unfinished Business does not present as a work of literary criticism per se. While it is concerned with interpretation and meaning, its fundamental focus is on that most peculiar of phenomena, the way that texts appear to change as we reread them throughout our lives. The texts, of course, do no such thing; we’re the ones doing the changing, and this relatively banal truth is Gornick’s entry point, using select works to illustrate the effects of lived life as measured against the yardstick of that relatively stable artifact, the book. In this context, the books and authors Gornick treats are largely irrelevant: Gornick has selected them for the glimpse each provides of the reexaminations of herself and her mind that her rereadings have prompted, or that have prompted the rereadings. I note this because I need to confess my own unfamiliarity with many of the books she writes about; my own experience of Unfinished Business didn’t suffer on account of my ignorance.

more here.

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