My Scrapbook: “By Heart” by Emily St. John Mandel

My Scrapbook
“By Heart” by Emily St. John Mandel

“By Heart” is a recurring feature in The Atlantic in which authors, usually highly respected “literary” types, share and discuss some of their all-time favorite passages in literature. Which is why I got such a kick out of Emily St. John Mandel‘s pick, which appeared in the December 17, 2014 issue of The Atlantic. St. John Mandel’s debut novel, the perplexing but critically acclaimed Last Night in Montreal (2009), featured, among other characters, an obsessed private eye chasing down a young girl who first disappeared years earlier.

Her pick? This little passage from a certain Mr. Chandler. You may have heard of him…

In “Don’t Write for Awards,” her accompanying essay for the series, the author explored her own ambivalence, comparing the noisy rush of awards and celebrity with the definitely non-glamorous and lonely job of writing. She says this passage from Raymond Chandler’s essay “The Simple Art of Murder” helps to keep her focussed.

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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