Why Write a Memoir?

Kathryn Harrison talks with Yona Zeldis McDonough about The Kiss.

Harrison’s stunning and troubling 1997 book The Kiss — by now a staple on the reading lists of women’s studies and memoir-writing classes all over the country — has just been reissued by Random House with a new afterward by Jane Smiley. Essentially abandoned by both her parents and raised by her Jewish maternal grandparents, Harrison’s memoir, says its publisher, “transforms into a work of art the darkest passage imaginable in a young woman’s life: an obsessive love affair between father and daughter that begins when she, at age 20, is reunited with the father whose absence had haunted her youth.” Yona Zeldis McDonough, Lilith’s fiction editor, spoke with Harrison in Brooklyn in March.

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