opposite loneliness coverMarina Keegan died five days after graduating magna cum laude from Yale. She left behind a legacy of essays and stories, some of which are collected in this book.

It goes without saying that I never knew Marina Keegan, but the experience of reading her words makes me wish I had known her. Her title essay, “The Opposite of Loneliness”, is everything I need to hear right now as a still-recent graduate who’s yet to find my way. Keegan’s writing is full of an energy and optimism which make me feel like anything is possible. That is not to say she sugar-coats reality, however; she captures grief, heartbreak, and insecurity with real honesty. As I mentioned in a previous post, her writing is everything I want my own writing to be; she is unafraid of being herself, however flawed, and she drives straight to the heart of the human condition.

My favourite story from this collection is “Cold Pastoral”, a story about dealing with grief and all its associated emotions. The characters were so real to me, and Keegan’s narrative voice so strong throughout, that at times I forgot that I was reading a work of fiction.

If that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about this talented writer, then I don’t know what does.