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Book Review: 'Quarrel and Quandary'

Posted on

Quarrel & Quandary

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Cynthia Ozick
publisher:
Knopf
genre:
Memoir, Essays

We gave it an A

In the new collection Quarrel and Quandary‘s foreword, author-playwright Cynthia Ozick disingenuously complains about how difficult the essay form is to master. But then she makes it look easy, running through personal, occasional, and critical essays as gracefully as a gazelle. Ozick never falters in the face of tough topics, like the Holocaust, art, and historiography. And the more private entries — like ”Lovesickness” and ”How I Got Fired From My Summer Job” — are free of the extraneous sentiment that cheapens many contemporary memoirs. As she says, ”A genuine essay is made out of language and character and mood and temperament and pluck and chance.” But an essay is also made out of the mind of the writer, and here the presence of a remarkable mind is evident on every page. A

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