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An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History by…
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An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History (edition 2013)

by Cynthia Zarin

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141951,704 (4)9
Member:sibyx
Title:An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History
Authors:Cynthia Zarin
Info:Knopf (2013), Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:Your library, 150 Books in 2013
Rating:****1/2
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An Enlarged Heart: A Personal History by Cynthia Zarin

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While you were occupied with this and that, time continued spinning steadily onward until one day you peer at yourself in a glass or a mirror, so different and yet so much the same. While a few essays refer to childhood, Cynthia Zarin uses the form explore desires, dreams, fulfillment and disappointment, of adult life, the focus on marriage and children, on (some aspects) of her work, and on her engagement with the material world - objects, houses, places, clothing. The essays are all very good, but the title essay “An Enlarged Heart” and the final essay “Mary McCarthy’s Chest” are, to my mind, perfect. The first is a gut-wrenching rendering of having a child suddenly become extremely ill with a rare disease, and the second and longest is a reminiscence of Zarin’s time at The New Yorker in its final years under the aegis of William Shawn. It’s one of the best pieces I’ve read about the magazine - landing soundly between youthful awe, what it was really like (oh the sharp observations of the young!) and the whole of it tempered by thoughtful reflection. Zarin, who is a poet (barely mentioned here), writes prose like a trained New Yorker writer, with that odd mix of self-effacement and confidence (verging on arrogance), as recognizable as hitting NPR on the radio dial, occasionally irritating, but always disciplined, always damned fine writing. Highly recommended if you like essay memoirs, New York City, the New Yorker or the Outer Cape. ****1/2 ( )
1 vote sibyx | May 28, 2013 |
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A New York City writer shares episodes from her life that reflect the cyclical nature of the past and her relationships with a range of people and places, from an energetic tailor and a twice-married mom to literary co-workers and the patrons of vanished restaurants.… (more)

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