Patricia Hampl biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Patricia Hampl

Patricia Hampl

Patricia Hampl Biography

Patricia Hampl first stepped onto the literary scene with A Romantic Education, a Cold War memoir about her Czech heritage. Four of her books have been named Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Hampl's work has appeared in The New Yorker, Paris Review, Granta, The American Scholar, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. In 1990 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship. In addition, she has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, Bush Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts (twice, in poetry and prose), Ingram Merrill Foundation and Djerassi Foundation. Hampl teaches fall semesters in the English MFA program at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Patricia Hampl's website

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Interview

A conversation with Patricia Hampl about The Art of the Wasted Day.

In The Art of the Wasted Day you talk about the "particular battle between striving and serenity" being distinctly American. Can you describe that battle, and explain how you think this notion of pursuit has shaped Americans? Where should the line between striving and serenity be drawn?

That reference is at the front of the book, in the chapter after my panic attack where I'm wondering how a daydreamer like me as a child turned into a multi-taking to-do list adult, racing around, never "serene" at all. I go on to suggest that our "founding document," the Declaration of Independence, makes the pursuit of happiness a core value for Americans, a deeply held belief in how we should live. Serenity may in fact be the most fundamental kind of happiness, but we are encouraged to the pursuit of happiness. That word—pursuit—is the vexing part of our relation to happiness. Pursuit is another word for striving. We strive to be happy—is that crazy-making? Striving is effort-filled. Yet it is serenity that assures happiness. It is fundamental paradox, one at the heart of the American Dream. Your question is a good one—in fact, it's my question, the very conundrum that sent me on the road to write this book. The book ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Patricia Hampl at BookBrowse
The Art of the Wasted Day jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Patricia Hampl but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Julian Barnes

    Julian Barnes

    Julian Barnes was born in Leicester, England on January 19, 1946. He was educated at the City of London School from 1957 to 1964 and at Magdalen College, Oxford, from which he graduated in modern languages (with honors) in ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Art of the Wasted Day

    Try:
    Levels of Life
    by Julian Barnes

  • Kate Bolick

    Kate Bolick

    Kate Bolick is a contributing editor for The Atlantic, freelance writer for ELLE, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal, and host of "Touchstones at The Mount," an annual literary interview series. Previously, she ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    The Art of the Wasted Day

    Try:
    Spinster
    by Kate Bolick

We recommend 4 similar authors

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Editor's Choice

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"An American epic in the truest sense…"
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