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300 Arguments

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UPC: 9781555977641
Author: Sarah Manguso
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  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Graywolf Press (February 7, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555977642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555977641
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.3 x 6.3 inches

A “Proustian minimalist on the order of Lydia Davis” (Kirkus Reviews), Sarah Manguso is one of the finest literary artists at work today. To read her work is to witness acrobatic acts of compression in the service of extraordinary psychological and spiritual insight.

300 Arguments, a foray into the frontier of contemporary nonfiction writing, is at first glance a group of unrelated aphorisms. But, as in the work of David Markson, the pieces reveal themselves as a masterful arrangement that steadily gathers power. Manguso’s arguments about desire, ambition, relationships, and failure are pithy, unsentimental, and defiant, and they add up to an unexpected and renegade wisdom literature.

Reviews

“This collection transcends any category to be something totally its own. . . . Manguso's captured the argumentative voice of a mindsifting through a problem, circling it, animated by sorting it out. . . . If this is poetry, it's the poems of quarrel. And if it's nonfiction, it's not the nonfiction of fact. Instead, it's the nonfiction which maps us to our own thinking. We enter Manguso's mind - her puzzle,pleased to be puzzled, too.”―NPR “All Things Considered”

“[300 Arguments] reads like you've jumped into someone's mind.”―NPR “Weekend Edition”

300 Arguments is a delectation, a book whose great precision and honesty constitute an irresistible incitement to think.”San Francisco Chronicle

“[300 Arguments is] inimitably Manguso, but, suddenly, wonderfully, universally, ours.”Washington Independent Review of Books

“This tiny gem of a book is jam-packed with insights you’ll want to both text to your friends and tattoo on your skin. It’s an intimate portrait of a woman at work, and a sweeping view of a human mind trying to make order of the world around us.”Omnivoracious

“[Manguso’s arguments] are pithy and wry, with a melancholy undercurrent that takes a beat to set in―like a vaccine whose pinch gives rise to a muscular ache.”The Nation

“Sarah Manguso paints a mostly opaque, but at times penetratingly clear, self-portrait of a female writer at work. . . . The narrator’stemper is mercurial; economical sentences range in tone from pithy and sardonic to tender and deeply empathetic. . . . But by theflip of a page, this wise and compassionate narrator descends into punchy one-liners that are darkly funny and sharper around theedges.”Hazlitt

300 Arguments is the book of aphorisms that I’ve been waiting for: trenchant, witty, and sometimes absurd. . . . Perhaps that’s whyI’m so drawn to it: each nugget of wisdom is something I’m tempted to share on social media or email to a friend. Sometimesbrevity is exactly what we need to make sense of the complicated world we live in.”―Michele Filgate, Literary Hub

“Perspective-altering. . . . The accumulation of these entries has a certain difficult-to-deny power. . . . I wanted to gift it to everyone Iknow, read it aloud to strangers on the bus, and transcribe it by hand in its entirety like a holy text.”―Joshua James Amberson, Portland Mercury

“Manguso’s prose is as succinct and revelatory as ever in this collection of aphorisms that quickly gathers momentum, becoming the self-portrait of a writer whose wisdom leaves one dazzled.”―Booksmith recommendation, San Francisco Chronicle

“[300 Arguments] beckons the reader to return, to read a sentence, and put it down again. . . . Her arguments . . . are crystallineand often walloping. . . . There is ambition leaking out of every page.”New Republic

“Manguso resuscitates the aphorism from its descent into maxim, bringing it back as a spur to thought. . . . Manguso’s unsettlingarguments deliver the world back to the reader at 300 different, jarring angles.”Literary Hub

“Manguso’s experience of life, in the little prose sachets that open and blossom page by page, are fragrant with undisclosed potentials. . . . Cosmos bloom and fold back up again, such that the work’s insights pulse line by line, and begin to hum. . . . The inherent volition of one epigram glides you into the next, transports you. . . . The Arguments has that rarer bird among the specimens: poignancy.”Third Coast Review

“This remarkable work of art is a masterpiece of compression, each section its own unique piece to a larger puzzle that eventually builds an entire universe, with lines that streak like comets through the space breaks, such as: ‘Bad art is from no one to no one’ and ‘Happiness begins to deteriorate once it is named.’”―Hannah Tinti, BookPage

“Manguso’s arguments speak to mortality, anxiety, depression, heartbreak, and motherhood. Her blatant truth-telling is addictive; readers will find it difficult not to devour these 90 pages filled with wisdom, witticisms, and humor in one sitting.”City Pages (Minneapolis)

“[300 Arguments] merits a wide audience. . . . Manguso writes powerfully about desire, [and]. . . offers a master class in a specific strain of desire: envy. . . . My field test for writing is like this: Does it produce a rueful inner smile or shudder of recognition? Manguso’s arguments do so many times.”Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

300 Arguments is a minimalist’s handbook: wisdom delivered in tiny doses.”San Jose Mercury News

“Part memoir, part advice, part laughter, and all unflinching honesty. . . . This is life experience and real wisdom distilled onto a few short pages.”Rain Taxi Review of Books

“A writer's life, solitary and complex, broken apart―not into shards but puzzle pieces. . . . A slim, poetic self-portrait that opens up as you read it and stays in the mind.”Kirkus Reviews

“Inventive. . . . All of life’s great subjects are here―love, relationships, happiness, desire, and vulnerability on the personal side; effort, luck, envy, and success vs. failure on the professional side―in one- and two-sentence nuggets of compressed insight. . . . It will require multiple rereadings to absorb the book’s rewarding wisdom.”Publishers Weekly 

“Alternately insightful, humorous and thought-provoking, [Manguso’s] 300 Arguments offers enough variety, depth and substance torange from the deeply personal to the universally relatable. . . . 300 Arguments paints a vivid, intimately nuanced portrait of itsauthor in the way few long-form essays manage. . . . [It] should be required reading for all those experiencing crises of confidenceand the otherwise deleterious effects of the human condition.”Spectrum Culture

300 Arguments shook me. It’s dark, but the darkness comes from a refusal to look away. Its humor is wounded but present. Is it possibly a sort of novel? The writer says somewhere, ‘This book is the good sentences from the novel I didn’t write.’ The idea holds up when applied, and the attentive reader will intuit an encompassing narrative. Sarah Manguso deserves many such readers.”―John Jeremiah Sullivan

“A new book by Sarah Manguso is always a cause for celebration. She is a poet-philosopher of the highest order who combines a laser-sharp intellect with a lyric gift and a capacious, generous heart. She is one of my favorite writers, and with 300 Arguments she deepens her inquiry into the very essence of what it is to be human.”―Dani Shapiro

“If there were a literary equivalent of the debate as to who is the best pound-for-pound boxer currently fighting, then word for word, Sarah Manguso’s 300 Arguments―weighing in at a mere ninety pages―would surely emerge as one of the smartest and most stimulating books of recent years.”―Geoff Dyer

“It’s sometimes less important to know what we need to know than how we need to know it. 300 Arguments is an uncommon commonplace book of the everyday―a glittering reference book for life.”―Joanna Walsh, author of Break.Up

“Every era has its wise aphorist. Sarah Manguso is ours and joins Marcus Aurelius, Thomas à Kempis, Montaigne.”―Edmund White

“Aphorism has always given me a mixture of intense pleasure and pain. At its best―and Manguso’s work is, without doubt, at the pinnacle―it’s like someone looking you in the eye and seeing you for exactly who and what you are. The simultaneous fear and relief is dizzying. Every perfectly crafted sentence is replete with insight, self-knowledge, and―even in anger or self-accusation―a deep compassion which will have me re-reading her for the rest of my life.”―Luke Kennard, author of Transit

Author

Sarah Manguso is the author of three memoirs, OngoingnessThe Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay; a story collection; and two poetry collections. She lives in Los Angeles.