Recollections of My Nonexistence

Recollections of My Nonexistence

An electric portrait of the artist as a young woman that asks how a writer finds her voice in a society that prefers women to be silent

In Recollections of My Nonexistence, Rebecca Solnit describes her formation as a writer and as a feminist in 1980s San Francisco, in an atmosphere of gender violence on the street and throughout society and the exclusion of women from cultural arenas. She tells of being poor, hopeful, and adrift in the city that became her great teacher; of the small apartment that, when she was nineteen, became the home in which she transformed herself; of how punk rock gave form and voice to her own fury and explosive energy.

Solnit recounts how she came to recognize the epidemic of violence against women around her, the street harassment that unsettled her, the trauma that changed her, and the authority figures who routinely disdained and disbelieved girls and women, including her. Looking back, she sees all these as consequences of the voicelessness that was and still is the ordinary condition of women, and how she contended with that while becoming a writer and a public voice for women’s rights.

She explores the forces that liberated her as a person and as a writer—books themselves, the gay men around her who offered other visions of what gender, family, and joy could be, and her eventual arrival in the spacious landscapes and overlooked conflicts of the American West. These influences taught her how to write in the way she has ever since, and gave her a voice that has resonated with and empowered many others.

Title:Recollections of My Nonexistence
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780593083338
Format Type:

    Recollections of My Nonexistence Reviews

  • Michael

    Contemplative and mesmerizing, Recollections of My Nonexistence thoughtfully charts the famous essayist’s coming of age as a thinker, activist, and writer. In lucid prose Solnit recounts how, in her...

  • Diane S ?

    Solnit is an author I have meant to read for quite a while. I have another book of hers somewhere around here, that I received in one of my book boxes. I, now regret waited so long as she is a fabulou...

  • Roman Clodia

    One of the iconic stories in Ovid's Metamorphoses is the terrible tale of Philomela, raped by her brother-in-law and then silenced by him hacking out her tongue so that she can't accuse him or speak o...

  • Megan Bell

    Readers like me who, over Rebecca Solnit’s thirty years of writing, have fallen in love with her seismic, world-shifting essays will not be disappointed in this memoir, her first longform writing in...

  • Sarah

    4.5 rounded downWhen I heard Rebecca Solnit was publishing a memoir this year it quickly became one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 - having enjoyed a number of her previous collections (inclu...

  • Steve

    My, my, my .... that was an exquisite, though-provoking, sublime, powerful book.Sure, it's a memoir, but it's much more. Solnit recollects a writer's life, and the history, the journey, the articulati...

  • Jaclyn Crupi

    One does not review Solnit, one imbibes her wisdom and words and feels grateful. ...

  • Tanya

    This memoir was my first foray into Solnit's long-form writing after having become a fan of her feminist essays, through which she gained popularity. If you liked those, this more personal piece will ...

  • Kasa Cotugno

    In a series of beautifully written essays, Rebecca Solnit shares her life and what inspired her in her quest for individuality and respect as a person who writes and thinks, to not be fetishized. She ...

  • BecSoBookish

    This book was...fine. I enjoy reading Solnit's essays, so I was looking forward to reading her memoir, thinking that I would actually learn a bit more about her. This was very much focused on Solnit f...