Actually, I can't really evaluate the quality of the essay, because I've read the book. The essay is pieced together from a couple of different passages in the book, so I don't know if it stands alone. But the book is phenomenal. I wasn't going to blog about it till it comes out in a few weeks, but I figured I might as well put in a plug now, especially because you know how I usually feel about Modern Love...
Anyway, it's another memoir by a writer--as opposed to memoir by a celebrity or someone picking up the pen for the first time to tell their amazing story. But she does have a pretty amazing story. When she was four or five, her parents met another couple, and the two couples, who had daughters the same ages, split up and married each other, leaving each set of daughters with the other girls' father. There's a lot more to it than that, plotwise, but what's truly amazing about The Sisters Antipodes is the writing and thinking. Jane Alison is just a stunning writer, whether she's writing about the Australian landscape, missing her father, or how a child tries to unravel the nature of thought--as someone who was once a child trying to unravel the nature of thought, I can vouch that she gets it exactly right. She also gets real life in Washington D.C. just right, not to mention alienation in the Ivy League. Really, it's just a remarkable book (read at a moment when I'd just finished or abandoned a string of mediocre books, making it even more of a jolt of pleasure).
In other reading news, we received a shipment of British magazines yesterday, via the traveling relatives conduit, and I must affirm once again the great superiority of the British Sunday newspaper magazine, which is snarky, edgy, and entertaining, rather than...well, rather than boring, self-important, and expensive (expensive in the sense of catering to an expensive life, rather than costing a lot), like the Sunday newspaper magazines we usually read around here.
We also have our very own copy of Issue 1 of Love Magazine, with naked Beth Ditto on the cover, along with Courtney Love, Iggy Pop, and the same luxe ads we've already seen this month in the Michelle Obama Vogue (love love love the Michelle/Queen Rania/Carla Bruni articles) and various other magazines (it's been a big magazine month around here). So, yes, the fashion/celebrity media machine is fundamentally the same in its capitalist underpinnings, but, still, the British versions have that edge that Americans simply never achieve, even--or especially--when they try.
(M thinks I should write something about her in this post.) (E says, "And me!")