Munch, whom she loved, abandoned her by dying. Or so the narrator intervenes to say, confiding that she wants the reader with her, “figuring out this story” in “the self-conscious postmodernist way.”. The narrator describes herself as a writer. Merkin is a graduate of Barnard College and also attended Columbia University 's graduate program in English literature. Fueling Judith’s emotional defenselessness is her relative lack of sexual experience. The nonlinear narrative ping pongs from Judith’s story to ruminations on the import and origins of sexual submissiveness and the mechanisms of fiction itself. In these desires, she is – as Merkin’s narrator suggests – something of an Everywoman. Follow her on Twitter @JuliaMKlein, A Daphne Merkin novel of erotic obsession. Daphne Merkin is a novelist and critic who has made a name for herself with her often-unnerving candor and forthright attitude towards issues of family, religion, money and sex. Julia M. Klein, the Forward’s contributing book critic, has been a two-time finalist for the National Book Critics Circle’s Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing. But Judith – an entitled, pre-pandemic Manhattanite who is perpetually tardy and often consumed by anxiety – is hardly the most congenial of protagonists. In her self-revelatory nonfiction, Daphne Merkin has written memorably about her bouts of depression and her sexual fixation on spanking. punctuated by bold ruminations on love, marriage, family, sex, gender and relationships. We’re told that she scared away her first lover, a medical student, with “a barrage of criticisms.” For years, she had a therapist, Dr. She has a single close girlfriend, Celia, and a gay male friend, Gerald, both tolerant of her idiosyncrasies. But her presumptive domestic bliss is composed of “worn routines” that leave her restless and vulnerable to memories of a darkly passionate past relationship. She lives in New York City and teaches private writing classes. Daphne Merkin is the author of  Enchantment (1986), which won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for best novel on a Jewish theme and has just been reissued by Picador (2020). She has also published two collections of essays, The Fame Lunches (2014)and Dreaming of Hitler (1997), as well as a memoir about her struggle with depression, This Close to Happy (2017). So, come for the promise of a compulsively readable novel — “Obsession makes for good copy,” the narrator tells us — and stay for a fascinating lesson on the making of art.". In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. The author labels these interludes “digressions,” and is well aware of how annoying they come to be. Daphne Miriam Merkin (born in New York City) is an American literary critic, essayist and novelist. A novel of unsurpassed candor, punctuated by bold ruminations on love, marriage, family, sex, gender and relationships, 11 Minutes of Unconditional Love depicts one woman's psychological descent into sexual captivity. Howard is even worse: a thuggish criminal defense lawyer who seduces women with a mix of profanity, aggression, sexual directness and emotional elusiveness. The number of authors I admire and enjoy are too numerous to list here, but I thought I might tell you about one writer who influenced the creation of Spank. In both cases, a woman has periodic encounters with a near-stranger, who evades romantic attachment but leads her to new-to-her erotic heights (and depths). Merkin knows that the Howard Roses of the world aren’t worth much. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason. This is the story of the extremes to which she will go to achieve erotic bliss—and of her struggle to regain her soul. is an arresting novel that explores the alchemy of contradictions that exist in all great works of literature. “You wanted a novel, not a philosophy course, right?” the narrator says at one point. Save this story for later. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Save this story for later. So, come for the promise of a compulsively readable novel — “Obsession makes for good copy,” the narrator tells us — and stay for a fascinating lesson on the making of art." No question that Merkin’s tale does provide an erotic frisson or two, episodes sexy enough to keep the reader hooked through the novel’s stops and starts. depicts one woman's psychological descent into sexual captivity. [9], "Diving Into Hell: A Powerful Memoir of Depression", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Daphne_Merkin&oldid=967517985, Articles with dead external links from January 2018, Articles with permanently dead external links, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 13 July 2020, at 18:23. Munch, with whom she discussed her bad taste in men. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. Merkin is a graduate of Barnard College and also attended Columbia University's graduate program in English literature.[1]. But the feelings they inspire are another story. By Daphne Merki n. February 19, 1996. Her latest novel 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love (2020)[6] came out in July of 2020. Judith works as a book editor, as Merkin once did. The result, not unlike Judith’s experience with the domineering Howard, is intermittently titillating but finally unsatisfying. She also is a contributing editor to Tablet magazine. Howard, whom she meets at a party, is a classic jerk, but he possesses both sexual talent and insight into her vulnerabilities. What he possessed was simply the “allure of remoteness, affection edged in ice and always on the verge of melting away….” Perhaps it will help, the narrator says, to translate her experience into the third person and “pretend it happened to someone else.”. This is the story of the extremes to which she will go to achieve erotic bliss—and of her struggle to regain her soul. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason. 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