The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories

Marina Keegan. Scribner, $23 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4767-5361-4
Journalist and playwright (whose musical Independents was a prize-winning selection in the 2012 New York International Fringe Festival) Keegan’s posthumous collection, with an introduction by Anne Fadiman, serves as a tribute to the author, who died in a car crash in 2012, five days after graduating Yale University. The book illuminates the optimism and neurosis felt by new grads everywhere: “The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious. We’re graduating college. We’re so young.” Though the collection features more fiction than non-, the author’s voice is similar in both. Her essays hide musings about her life and relationships under innocuous subjects: her mother’s over-protectiveness about Keegan’s celiac disease, for example, leads Keegan to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a parent. In her fiction, the thematic preoccupations are closer to the surface, such as the relationship definition problems a girl faces when the boy she was “involved, of course, but not associated [with]” suddenly dies. Like every millennial who’s seen irony elevated to an art form, Keegan brings self-awareness to the collective insecurity of her peers, even as she captures it with a precision that only comes from someone who feels it too. How unfortunate that she will never know the value readers will find in her work. Agent: Lane Zachary, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 12/09/2013
Release date: 04/08/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
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