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Recollections of My Nonexistence Summary and Reviews

Recollections of My Nonexistence

by Rebecca Solnit

Recollections of My Nonexistence by Rebecca Solnit X
Recollections of My Nonexistence by Rebecca Solnit
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2020
    256 pages
    Genre: Biography/Memoir

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Book Summary

An electric portrait of the artist as a young woman that asks how a writer finds her voice in a society that prefers women to be silent.

In Recollections of My Nonexistence, Rebecca Solnit describes her formation as a writer and as a feminist in 1980s San Francisco, in an atmosphere of gender violence on the street and throughout society and the exclusion of women from cultural arenas. She tells of being poor, hopeful, and adrift in the city that became her great teacher, and of the small apartment that, when she was nineteen, became the home in which she transformed herself. She explores the forces that liberated her as a person and as a writer--books themselves; the gay community that presented a new model of what else gender, family, and joy could mean; and her eventual arrival in the spacious landscapes and overlooked conflicts of the American West.

Beyond being a memoir, Solnit's book is also a passionate argument: that women are not just impacted by personal experience, but by membership in a society where violence against women pervades. Looking back, she describes how she came to recognize that her own experiences of harassment and menace were inseparable from the systemic problem of who has a voice, or rather who is heard and respected and who is silenced--and how she was galvanized to use her own voice for change.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Solnit traces her discovery of communities—artists, punk musicians, gay men and women—that sustained her and the people and places that inspired many of her books...A perceptive, radiant portrait of a writer of indelible consequence." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"An inquisitive, perceptive, and original thinker and enthralling writer...Solnit has created an unconventional and galvanizing memoir-in-essays that shares key, often terrifying, formative moments in her valiant writing life...an incandescent addition to the literature of dissent and creativity." - Booklist (starred review)

"This is a thinking person's book about writing, female identity, and freedom by a powerful and motivating voice for change." - Publishers Weekly

"An engaging look at Solnit's life, which succeeds in giving voice to inequity caused by patriarchy. Recommended for memoir aficionados, especially feminist audiences." - Library Journal

"One of our foremost thinkers on womanhood explores the journey of her becoming in this deeply personal memoir about her youth in San Francisco. In her searing, sensitive voice, Solnit recalls the epidemic of violence against women...tracing her journey as a writer through her journey to speak out on behalf of women." - Esquire

"This powerful memoir reveals how Solnit's coming-of-age as a journalist and a woman in 1980s San Francisco shaped her as a writer and a feminist. She grapples with sexual harassment, poverty, trauma, and women's exclusion from the cultural conversation, while discovering punk rock and the LGBTQ+ community as safe havens. Her words have long empowered people who feel voiceless, and her latest book is no exception." - Good Housekeeping

"Throughout her rich body of work, essayist and critic Rebecca Solnit has revealed pieces of herself in writings about the beauty of getting lost, the joys of walking both for pleasure and with purpose, and perhaps most famously, the indignity of being mansplained to. At last, she uses her eagle eye to explore her own life. Recollections of My Nonexistence is a marvel: a memoir that details her awakening as a feminist, an environmentalist, and a citizen of the world. Every single sentence is exquisite." - Maris Kreizman, Vulture

The information about Recollections of My Nonexistence shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Author Information

Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit is the author of more than twenty books, including A Field Guide to Getting Lost, The Faraway Nearby, A Paradise Built in Hell, River of Shadows, and Wanderlust. She is also the author of Men Explain Things to Me and many essays on feminism, activism and social change, hope, and the climate crisis. A product of the California public education system from kindergarten to graduate school, she is a regular contributor to the Guardian and other publications.

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