A Charles D’Ambrosio Reading List

Recently, we published “This is Living,” an exclusive excerpt from Charles D’Ambrosio’s most recent essay collection, Loitering: New & Collected Essays (Tin House). Because we just can’t get enough D’Ambrosio, here’s a reading list featuring interviews old and new, another essay featured in Loitering (“Seattle, 1974”), and more.

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1. “Seattle, 1974” (Charles D’Ambrosio, Front Porch, Issue 10, April 2009)

D’Ambrosio ruminates on Seattle and the dissonance in finding meaning, connection, and relevance in your own hometown:

“Seattle does have a suicide rate a couple notches above the national average and so does my family and I guess that earns me the colors of some kind of native. I walk around, I try to check it out, this new world of hope and the good life, but in some part of my head it’s forever 1974 and raining and I’m a kid and a man with a shopping cart full of kiped meat clatters down the sidewalk chased with sad enthusiasm by apron-wearing boxboys who are really full-grown men recently pink-slipped at Boeing and now scabbing part-time at Safeway.”

2. “Instead of Sobbing, You Write Sentences: An Interview with Charles D’Ambrosio” (Leslie Jamison, The New Yorker, November 2014)

In this Leslie Jamison interview with D’Ambrosio, the author reflects on faith, doubt, and outsiderhood, and reveals a little about his nonlinear writing process.

3. “Charles D’Ambrosio’s Dome-Blowingly Beautiful Essays” (The Stranger, October 2014)

Rebecca Brown, Charles Mudede, Trisha Ready, Adam Haslett, Karen Russell, Paul Constant, and Rich Smith share their favorite things about Loitering.

4. “The Last Book I Loved: Orphans” (Lauren Alwan, The Rumpus, May 2011)

“On the day of the 9/11 attacks, D’Ambrosio was in Philipsburg, and in the essay he contemplates Hugo’s poem, working its furrows, turning over the words and images, not for answers, but as Chekhov said, to find the right questions. As in, what is the place of poetry in the face of terrible things, whether they happen to your country or your marriage or your town? Or, what can be said about patriotism, enemies, God, good and evil that isn’t a cliché?”

5. “A Conversation With Charles D’Ambrosio” (Stephen Knezovich and Pete Sheehy, Willow Springs, October 2006) (Full.pdf)

“In Dead Fish, each story was secretly constructed and deviously worked out to deliver a moment where love could be presented without sentimentality or irony, where two people could communicate, however briefly, however futilely, in some direct and ultimate manner.”