Phillip Lopate gathers essays by 47 of America's most esteemed contemporary writers—including Alexander Chee, Samantha Irby, Leslie Jamison and David Sedaris—mingling long-established eminences with newer voices and making room for a wide variety of perspectives and styles.
Obvious short stories like Meghan Daum’s 'Matricide' or Charles D’Ambrosio’s 'Loitering' are included here one what can be assumed to be a lark, for instance. Ander Monson’s incoherent 'Failure: A Meditation' is here, as is Floyd Skloot’s 'Gray Area: Thinking with a Damaged Brain,' which is moving in inverse proportion to the likelihood that it could have been written by somebody who’d actually experienced any of the maladies it describes. 'Dear Friend, From My Life I Write To You in Your Life,' in which Yiyun Li assembles 24 random anecdotes, is likewise here for no apparent reason. But...such inclusions total only a small fraction of the Table of Contents here, which is otherwise every bit as strong as those in all other Lopate’s anthologies, with superb pieces ... True, there’s typically self-impressed gibberish from David Shields...but there’s also Darryl Pinckney’s terrific 'Busted in New York,' Samantha Irby’s 'The Terror of Love,' and Lynn Freed’s raucous 'Doing No Harm' ... in the presence of such well-chosen abundance...allowances are easy.
Essay expert and advocate Lopate completes his invaluable trilogy of powerhouse anthologies...showcasing the best of American essays in all their radiant and stormy voices, styles, and subject matter with a suitably kinetic twenty-first-century gathering reflecting a time 'of rupture and anxiety' ... dynamic ... Lopate’s astutely selected trilogy zestfully celebrates the splendid prowess and provocation of the American essay.
... [a] well-balanced volume ... John McPhee’s 'Draft #4' is a must-read about the importance of writing and rewriting ... Recommended for libraries that have the first two volumes and for libraries where essays are popular.