The Best American Essays 2015

The Best American Essays 2015

Language: English

Pages: 272

ISBN: 0544569628

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

“Writing an essay is like catching a wave,” posits guest editor Ariel Levy. “To catch a wave, you need skill and nerve, not just moving water.” This year’s writers are certainly full of nerve, and have crafted a wide range of pieces awash in a diversity of moods, voices, and stances. Leaving an abusive marriage, parting with a younger self, losing your sanity to Fitbit, and even saying goodbye to a beloved pair of pants imbued with meaning are all unified by the daring of their creation. As Levy notes, “Writing around an idea you think is worthwhile—an idea you suspect is an insight—requires real audacity.”
The Best American Essays 2015 includes
Hilton Als, Roger Angell, Justin Cronin, Meghan Daum, Anthony Doerr, Margo Jefferson, David Sedaris, Zadie Smith, Rebecca Solnit and others

ARIEL LEVY, guest editor, has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2008. She received the National Magazine Award for essays and criticism for her piece “Thanksgiving in Mongolia,” which she is expanding into a book for Random House. Female Chauvinist Pigs, Levy’s first book, has been translated into seven languages. She teaches at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and at Wesleyan University.

ROBERT ATWAN, the series editor of The Best American Essays since its inception in 1986, has published on a wide variety of subjects, from American advertising and early photography to ancient divination and Shakespeare. His criticism, essays, humor, poetry, and fiction have appeared in numerous periodicals nationwide.

The Call of the Wild

Flying to America

The Cabala and The Woman of Andros

The Awakening and Selected Stories (Penguin Classics)















awakenings. Well, not yet, not soon, or probably not, I would console myself, and that welcome but then tediously repeated postponement felt in time less like a threat than like a family obligation—tea with Aunt Molly in Montclair, someday soon but not now. Death, meanwhile, was constantly onstage or changing costume for his next engagement—as Bergman’s thick-faced chess player; as the medieval night rider in a hoodie; as Woody Allen’s awkward visitor half falling into the room as he enters

captive in its smooth silver depth. Mirrors create silence, I think. I make a note. Other afternoons I have that feeling that is like floating slowly through the air sometimes when I close my eyes and just listen to the sounds around me. These—and so many others—are the ways I pass the time, or ways that the time passes through me. They are also the different ways I am, and now I have to wonder what time even has to do with it. The drugs, the painkillers, though mild in their effect, do make a

function of Avellino’s PSI was to make sure that no one else poached that customer. Avellino was essentially acting as an agent for the garbage collectors of Long Island, inserting himself between his membership and the marketplace the way a Hollywood agent inserts himself between the pool of actors and the studios. Ordinary thieves act covertly. They hide their identity from the person whose money they are taking. Avellino did the opposite. He ran a public organization. The ordinary thief is

poem “Crusoe in England.” She goes on: Was that why it rained so much? And why sometimes the whole place hissed? Manhattan hisses—with savagery. It’s an island of bodies while other islands steam with the hissing of volcanoes—volcanoes that dare you to forget that some islands came into being because of volcanic eruptions or tectonic shifts. But no matter how islands like Barbados and Trinidad, say, came to be formed, you can feel them percolating beneath your feet as you walk to market, or

to see if there are any vacant names or verbs in the landscape up there. If he sends back a warning, I’ll pause meaningfully, duh, until something else comes to mind. On the other hand, I’ve not yet forgotten Keats or Dick Cheney or what’s waiting for me at the dry cleaner’s today. As of right now, I’m not Christopher Hitchens or Tony Judt or Nora Ephron; I’m not dead and not yet mindless in a reliable upstate facility. Decline and disaster impend, but my thoughts don’t linger there. It

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