A womanist Take on the “Selfish Artist”

Reading Jami Attenberg’s memoir, I Came All This Way to Meet You, I kept thinking it was unlike any memoir I’d ever read. Above all, it’s a story of increasing dedication to the art of fiction, to an identity as a writer. Everything else is subordinate to her work, and everything else except family and friendships is transitory, even the idea of home.

Many male artists have told a story like this, but Attenberg brings a womanist take to the “selfish artist” trope without relying on some cathartic event to create her identity. Instead, she writes about the logistics of making time and space for her work, of dedication to selling her work, of understanding how she works.

The book hops around in time, but I found this pleasing along with the reflective bits toward the end where Attenberg tries to understand some of her less-than-happy behaviors.
Many thanks to NetGalley for an advance review copy. (less)

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