Blueberries by Ellena Savage

Reviewed by
April 2020, no. 420
Caitlin McGregor reviews 'Blueberries' by Ellena Savage

Blueberries

by Ellena Savage

Text Publishing, $32.99 pb, 256 pp

Blueberries by Ellena Savage

Reviewed by
April 2020, no. 420

The writerly ‘I’ is notoriously fraught and political in non-fiction writing. What are the implications of writing from a biased and limited perspective (as all of us inevitably do)? How to get around – or work within – the constraints of the personal? These questions are ethical ones but also ones of craft. Many memoirists and essayists have grappled explicitly with them on the page.

In 2017, Ellena Savage wrote an essay titled ‘Antimemoir, as in Fuck You (as in Fuck Me)’. It was published as part of her books column in The Lifted Brow. Savage has lost her writerly ‘I’, she claims in this essay, following three events: an anti-memoir workshop run by writer Bhanu Kapil; reading James Alan McPherson’s Crabcakes (1998) and Yiyun Li’s Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life (2017); and uprooting her life (‘again’). ‘When in the past I wrote,’ Savage writes, ‘there was a point from which “I” could pivot. A time and a place and a self, located at the centre of those dimensions.’ But now? ‘Can’t write memoir now. How ’bout antimemoir?’

Caitlin McGregor reviews 'Blueberries' by Ellena Savage

Blueberries

by Ellena Savage

Text Publishing, $32.99 pb, 256 pp

From the New Issue

You May Also Like

comment (1)

  • Brilliant review ? I'm looking forward to reading Blueberries!
    Posted by Zowie DK
    Monday, 30 March 2020 17:24

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.