Reading List: Leaving the Places We've Lived

Emily Perper is a word-writing human working at a small publishing company. She blogs about her favorite longreads at Diet Coker.

Everyone is writing about leaving New York, it seems. But Isaac Fitzgerald just arrived in NYC, and some of the writers in the delightful anthology Goodbye To All That have returned. Of course, there are stories of people leaving cities outside of New York. Here are four essays about leaving some of these cities, and maybe coming back to them.

1. “The Last City I Loved: Omaha, Nebraska.” (Gene Kwak, The Rumpus, June 2013)

I found myself floating in the details of Kwak’s friendships and favorite places. I’ve never been to Omaha, but now I want to go. It doesn’t need promotion, though — I just need to remember it’s there. And you just need to read this essay.

2. “London’s Great Exodus.” (Michael Goldfarb, The New York Times, October 2013)

Middle-class London residents can’t afford to live in a city where property is currency and international moguls move in.

3. “Farewell to the Enchanted City.” (Elizabeth Minkel, The Millions, July 2013)

A well-written meta examination on the classic Leaving New York essay: “But New York, though — maybe it’s the preponderance of writers here, the narcissism and the navel-gazing, that turns our comings and goings into a series of extended metaphors? … When we manage to leave, if we manage to leave, escape becomes a genre in and of itself.”

4. “Why I Am Leaving New York City.” (Mallory Ortberg The Toast, November 2013)

Let’s end on a lighter note: Mallory Ortberg (perhaps the funniest human on the internet?) hasn’t lived in NYC before, but she’s not going to let that stop her from writing an essay about leaving.

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Photo: Don O’Brien

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