Jeanette Winterson wrote in her recent book Why be happy when you could be normal? that 1985 was ‘not the day of the memoir’, and yet ostensibly today is the day because everybody is doing it – John Prescott, Salman Rushdie, Jack Straw. What is going on?
Even the statement – ‘Today is the day of the memoir’ – seems like a contradiction in terms because how can today’s ‘now’ be yesterday’s ‘now’ as well.
The memoir is a conceptually solid representation or version of the past, it is a ‘product’. It is also part of current consumer culture, whereby people make purchases because they feel safe and because what they are buying is somehow ‘knowable’. Note that the tagline of a major highstreet bookseller is – ‘The Knowledge Retailer’ – as if knowledge could ever be that stable…
Find out more by following the link to my online article about contemporary memoir: