Ongoingness: The End of a Diary (Graywolf, 2015)

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About the book

In her latest book that continues to define the contours of the contemporary essay, Sarah Manguso confronts a meticulous diary that she has kept for twenty­-five years. “I wanted to end each day with a record of everything that had ever happened,” she explains. But this simple statement belies a terror that she might forget something, that she might miss something important. Maintaining that diary, now 800,000 words, had become, until recently, a kind of spiritual practice. Then Manguso became pregnant and had a child, and these two Copernican events generated an amnesia that put her into a different relationship with the need to document herself amid ongoing time. Ongoingness is a spare, meditative work that stands in stark contrast to the volubility of the diary—it is a haunting account of mortality and impermanence, of how we struggle to find clarity in the chaos of time that rushes around and over and through us.


“An incredibly elegant, wise book… I loved it.” (Miranda July)… “Brilliant.” (Jenny Offill)… “I am in awe.” (David Shields)… “Both grounding and heady, the spark of a larger, important conversation.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)… “An addict’s testimony, a confession, a celebration, an elegy.” (The Paris Review)… “A scrupulous and ruthless weighing of a subject.” (Harvard Magazine)… “Exquisitely honed.” (NPR)… “Nearly every page has a line that knocks the wind out of you.” (Portland Mercury)