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Instead, this new crop of nonfiction seeks to blend personal writing with social analysis, to fashion some kind of philosophy about how we live, and love, now.Examples abound: Moira Weigel’s debut, “Labor of Love”; Kate Bolick’s dissection of singleness in her 2015 book, “Spinster”; Jessica Valenti’s recent memoir, “Sex Object”; Kristin Dombek’s starkly original take on threesomes in The Paris Review.The latter is of course an impossible demand, and so many female writers are criticized when they (inevitably) fall short.”The British writer Olivia Laing isn’t exactly thrilled to be grouped into the category of women who write about matters of love and sex.
To this end, she provides an extensive collection of romantic encounters and involvements — even though she knew that her book, and its title, were bound to provoke endless Twitter hate.“Whenever women write about sex, whenever they write about their relationship history, there’s a sort of rush to judgment that it must be navel gazing, it must be frivolous, it’s unimportant,” Ms. “Whereas of course when men write things about their sex lives or past relationships, it’s brave and universal and all the great things.”For her, the decision to do a memoir was a departure.These writers have been greeted with a great deal of attention, yet there remains the anxious sense that to write about such topics is to risk forfeiting gravitas. Witt’s book is among the most personal of the bunch, offering up her perceptions of (and adventures in) the worlds of internet dating, internet pornography, orgasmic meditation and the kink industry. Witt’s book is her willingness to confess her unhappiness.“You can tell yourself different stories about why things are happening,” Ms. “I knew the story that I was telling myself — that I would eventually meet someone and get married — felt really false.And also, it just wasn’t happening.”And so, she headed to the West Coast to try to figure out some other way to be content, if it turns out that the romantic-comedy concept of love, with its perfect, permanent, tea-for-two ending, was not to be hers.“Part of why I wanted to write the book was that everything I read told me that my life was a question of luck and chance, and if it didn’t work out, if I didn’t meet somebody,” she said.Witt’s book, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Weigel, 31, offers a different angle on love — and a different sensibility. Weigel was compelled to delve into the moment it all began. Particularly potentially titillating subjects,” Ms. Weigel later wrote in an email.“It’s this weird double bind, isn’t it: On the one hand, it’s as if editors and readers don’t trust young women to know about anything other than their own lives.And then on the other hand we are often asked — structural sexism asks us — to speak for all women, any time we write.These authors share something else, besides subject matter: They are women.Their books are a departure from the raw, unfiltered confessional writing that the internet seems to have fostered in recent years: inward-focused pieces on abortions and addictions and affairs we have gotten used to clicking on, or past.carries with it a persistent whiff of strangeness, deviance and failure” — moved to New York City for a man and then he left her, sending her spiraling into the kind of year that can, if you are Ms. Instead, she takes long, introspective walks through the city where she is loveless and occasionally so unmoored that she can barely bring herself to order coffee, too vulnerable to cope with her barista’s continuing inability to decode her English accent.When pressed about her ambivalence toward revealing her private life in writing, Ms.I guess that’s why I’m more to the side of reticence and discretion than full-blown execution.”For her, it is a kind of anguish to call upon the personal, and the personal parts of her books are, she said, the ones she hates to write. Laing does it, in part because, as she said, “I guess I think it’s ethical to make something of your own experience transparent if you’re going to be digging around in other peoples’ lives.”Unlike Ms.Laing, the feminist author and blogger Jessica Valenti, 37, recently decided to embrace the personal with impunity.