Elizabeth Hardwick -- critic, essayist, fiction writer and co-founder of The New York Review of Books, died on Sunday in Manhattan. She was 91.
From the The New York Times:
In a 1984 interview in The Paris Review, the writer Darryl Pinckney asked her about her feelings about getting older. “Its only value is that it spares you the opposite, not growing older,” she said, adding: “Oh, the dear grave. I like what Gottfried Benn wrote, something like, ‘May I die in the spring when the ground is soft and easy to plough.’
Her titles published by NYRB Classics are Sleepless Nights -- a semi-autobiographical novel signified by "love and alcohol and the clothes on the floor" and her collection of essays on women and literature -- Seduction and Betrayal.
I read Sleepless Nights earlier this year and it was a book I find difficult to write about. What do you say about a book that is inherent diffused in its structure? It defies the conventional narrative of coherence and meaning, more like a journal of a life lived in moments and memories -- but haven't I read enough Proust to realise that our lives are lived in intermittent memories?
I was -- dare I say, impressed -- by Sleep Nights with its elusive, smoke-like narratives. I wish now to read Seduction and Betrayal. Why does the death of the author drive us to read their books more?