At once a log of pandemic life in New York City and a meditation on selfhood, memory, and language, Emily Simon’s first book is a lyrical and timely experiment in prose fragments.
IN MANY WAYS describes a self in process, at odds, and enthralled, in search of the origins of her unsatisfiable pursuit of meaning. The writerly drive to fix the fleeting moment comes up against a contradictory impulse to escape—through writing—the binds of formal codes and conventions. Simon’s shifts and disjunctions map the unsteady flow of pandemic time, observing the clash of interior experience with the social world.
“Reminiscent of a personal journal kept by a brilliant writer, Emily Simon’s debut is a stunning compendium of intriguing and astute observations, rich musings on literature, and anecdotal fragments of memories of love and life. Sharp, witty, heartfelt, and alarmingly thought-provoking, In Many Ways is unique in form, profound of mind, fiercely intelligent, and the prose is jaw-droppingly exquisite.” —Binnie Kirshenbaum
“Emily Simon doubles down on the horizons of possibility when we take non-sequitur as method: to index the devotional, mundane, shamanic thought patterns of contemporary love, politics, and selfhood.… Unafraid to tack with the wind, these fragments unfold asymptotically ‘as they perform the kind of politics they urgently call for.’” —Rosie Stockton
“‘Embarrassment is a lesson in size.’ Emily Simon’s In Many Ways pursues the tributaries of embarrassment through daily life and discovers ways to walk beside them.… A lovely work of writing at the pace of living. —Hilary Plum
“Shifts and starts, slippages; something is always about to happen. The trains keep moving, or not, charting their sinuous, menacing tracks under and around the city.… Emily Simon’s body remains in the wind tunnel. Her brain takes pictures for us—and how.” —Claudia La Rocco
“Simon applies her acute observations and intelligence to the daily life of someone teased by questions of what living is like at this moment, finding and showing us beauty throughout the contradictions.” —Ben Fama
“What kicks off as a meditation on time and writing swerves into a disquisition into the nature of embarrassment, then widens to accommodate questions of identity, embodiment, familial history, dreamlife, romantic life, and life in NYC amid the pandemic, to name a few.… Witty, worried, sad, ecstatic, philosophical, lyrical, and often keenly aphoristic, In Many Ways is a thrilling accomplishment by one of the most compellingly distinctive minds of her generation.” —Timothy Donnelly
"Simon has a knack for crystalline bursts of insight, and she conveys a genuine sense of yearning. This author has talent to burn." —Publishers Weekly
Poetry. Women’s Studies.
Review @ Publishers WeeklyInterview with Emily Simon @ LitHubInterview and Excerpts @ Air/LightReview @ Publishers Weekly
Emily Simon is a writer and teacher living in New York City. She is the author of the chapbook Reign is Over (Choo Choo Press, 2021). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Florida Review, Salt Hill, and Some Kind of Opening. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Writing Program in poetry.