300 Arguments, a pocket-sized foray into the frontier of contemporary nonfiction writing, is, at first glance, a group of unrelated aphorisms. But the pieces reveal themselves as a masterful arrangement that steadily gathers power. To read them is to witness acrobatic acts of compression in the service of extraordinary psychological and spiritual insight. Manguso’s arguments about desire, ambition, and failure add up to an unexpected and renegade wisdom literature.
“A writer's life, solitary and complex, broken apart—not into shards but puzzle pieces. … Self-doubt becomes part of a larger, more evocative struggle—to keep going, keep writing, and leave evidence of having lived. … A slim, poetic self-portrait that opens up as you read it and stays in the mind.”
“300 Arguments shook me. It’s dark, but the darkness comes from a refusal to look away. Its humor is wounded but present. Is it possibly a sort of novel? The idea holds up when applied, and the attentive reader will intuit an encompassing narrative. Sarah Manguso deserves many such readers.”
John Jeremiah Sullivan
“Sarah Manguso is a poet-philosopher of the highest order who combines a laser-sharp intellect with a lyric gift and a capacious, generous heart. With 300 Arguments she deepens her inquiry into the very essence of what it is to be human.”