The Desk and the Daring

Vivian Gornick has long enjoyed an audience of literary depressives and feminists. Now, a late-career revival is expanding her readership. In 2020 four Gornick titles have given occasion for a backward glance. The timing of their publication could be chalked up to the return of American socialism, or to the tendency to rediscover women artists in old age. But the lasting value of her work lies in her commitment to the question of what it means to feel “expressive”: to experience the feeling that tells a person “not approximately, but precisely” who they are.
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