Ongoingness/ 300 Arguments
'This small-sized book has immense power. Marvel at the clarity and fire.' Zadie Smith
'Jam-packed with insights you'll want to both text to your friends and tattoo on your skin' Celeste Ng
A combined book of two daring works by Sarah Manguso, presented together in a rare reversible single edition.
Think of this as a short book composed entirely of what I hoped would be a long book’s quotable passages.
300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso is at first glance a group of unrelated aphorisms, but the pieces reveal themselves as a masterful arrangement that steadily gathers power. Manguso’s arguments about writing, desire, ambition, relationships, and failure are pithy, unsentimental, and defiant, and they add up to an unexpected and renegade wisdom literature. Lines you will underline, write in notebooks and read to the person sitting next to you, that will drift back into your mind as you try to get to sleep.
'300 Arguments reads like you've jumped into someone's mind.' NPR
ONGOINGNESS: THE END OF THE DIARY
In Ongoingness, Sarah Manguso continues to define the contours of the contemporary essay. In it, she 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 eight hundred thousand 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.
Every era has its wise aphorist. Sarah Manguso is ours and joins Marcus Aurelius, Thomas à Kempis, Montaigne.
If there were a literary equivalent of the debate as to who is the best pound-for-pound boxer currently fighting, then word for word, Sarah Manguso’s 300 Arguments — weighing in at a mere ninety pages — would surely emerge as one of the smartest and most stimulating books of recent years.
Reading Sarah Manguso is destroying me from the inside out.
Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties