RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksBetwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life, resembles [Alexander] Chee’s in its resistance to prescriptive instruction and the authoritative pedagogical impulse in favor of sketching edges and contours of what it means both to write and to be ... This is a woozy writing crafted in cycles and slippages, in repetition with minor variances. It is, well, life, and the body, repeating, repeating, repeating, like breath and blood, at once inexorably the same and ineffably different. As readers of this writing, then, we do not learn a craft so much as gather and sense, sift and glean, becoming aware through accretion, collection, absorption, rereading. We are not told how to write in clear terms; instead, we are shown what writing actually feels like and what words can be made to do.
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksIn place of the imperative structure characteristic of so many craft books that cheerfully promise a way forward, that evince a comfortable universe of coherent rules and achievable outcomes, Chee offers instead the roundabout and the recursive, the indirect and stubbornly nonlinear. His essays are an invitation not to review the rules of writing, but to trace a unique pathway into knowledge and being in and through writing ... Pages and pages into the project [Edinburgh], Chee begins to find his way, and ultimately, begins to understand the relationship between plot, action, and his own life. \'I had written my way there,\' Chee marvels, realizing that letting the story unfold was the writing. And this is the beauty modeled by Chee’s book: the act of writing takes the writer to the self.