Sunday, June 07, 2020

Unexpected Literary Subgenre

Via a current piece at DNYUZ, "The Agonizing Question: Is New York City Worth It Anymore?", I was made aware that there's practically an entire subgenre of essays consisting of farewell letters to the Big Apple.
"The literature may be thin when it comes to “See ya, Chicago” or “Later, Los Angeles” odes, but ever since Ms. Didion set the standard 46 years ago, the “Goodbye New York” essay has become a de rigueur career move for aspiring belle-lettrists. It is a theme that has been explored continuously over the years by the likes of Meghan Daum in The New Yorker and Luc Sante in The New York Review of Books.

Lately, the “Goodbye” essay has found renewed life, as a new generation of writers works out its love-hate relationship with the city in public fashion. Recently, opinion-makers like Andrew Sullivan and David Byrne have scribbled much-discussed New York-is-over essays; literary-minded Generation Y writers have bid not-so-fond farewells to the city on blogs like Gawker and The Cut; and a dozen-plus writers, including Dani Shapiro and Maggie Estep, published elegies to their ambivalence toward New York in “Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York,” an anthology published last month.
Which makes sense, when you think about it. Gotham is a magnet for writers of every stripe, and deciding to leave it would be the sort of thing about which a writer would feel compelled to write.

(h/t to The Online Photographer)