The Odd Woman and the City, Gornick’s brief new collection of meditations and anecdotes, shows her still wrestling in old age with the same basic problems that have always animated her work. The need for, and the impossibility of, romantic connection; the erotic embrace of the city, as a substitute for personal intimacy; the consolations and frustrations of friendship; above all, the moral struggle to make an independent self—these have been, and still are, Gornick’s great subjects. What gives Gornick’s writing its disturbing charge is the way she never comes to the end of these subjects—never achieves the kind of self-understanding or resignation that might lead to wisdom. Adam Kirsch, tablet.

Vivian Gornick, The Odd Woman and the City (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

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