Vivian Gornick is at work on a book of rereadings, which will be published next year. (April 2017)


The Love We Don’t Know

Kathleen Collins, upstate New York, circa 1983

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?

by Kathleen Collins, with a foreword by Elizabeth Alexander
A master of the short story that is all voice, Grace Paley was famous for having come down against the fiction of plot and character development because, as she once said, “Everyone, real or invented, deserves the open destiny of life.” In Paley’s stories the narrating voice—urban, ethnic, rooted in …


Cats, Doris Lessing, and Me

Some months ago, late on a winter afternoon, I picked up Particularly Cats again. This time, I read it through in a single sitting, hardly able to believe that I had once held this book in my hands and not been similarly compelled. As I’m reading, my mouth opens wider and wider, until I feel it dropping nearly to my chest. Mainly, I am shocked because the mature Lessing relates this grisly tale with extraordinary equanimity—not a blink, not a gulp, not a syllable of distress in a single sentence. What we have instead is that cold, clear, unyielding gaze of hers trained on a piece of domestic grand guignol as it might be on the most harmless of accidental occurrences, and then reflected upon with almost laughable imperturbability.