By Elizabeth Hardwick
The author of this short, impressionistic novel was my teacher when I was an undergraduate. She was also the first professional writer I ever met. Part fiction, part autobiography, this is one of the most original books I have read. Filled with imaginative meditations on a range of subjects, from Billie Holiday to the lives of cleaning women, it has been celebrated for its gorgeous prose. According to Susan Sontag, Hardwick writes "more beautiful sentences than any living American writer."