“Words and Worlds: From Autobiography to Zippers” by Alison Lurie— A Collection of Essays

Lurie, Alison. “Words and Worlds: From Autobiography to Zippers” , Delphinium, 2019.

A Collection of Essays

Amos Lassen

Alison Lurie opens her new collection of essays with her life at Radcliffe during World War II when women were treated like second-class citizens. Even the most scholarly women were expected to support the war effort by working in factories. With this we get an idea of the tone of the essays to follow. Lurie tries her luck at being a writer and almost fails but that begins to change when se establishes relationships with other writers.

She writes about feminism, fashion, and friendships and even those tht seem to be a bit dated today are fun reads. Lurie tells us that how we choose to order the space where we live and work shows a great deal about us. This collection of twenty-one essays is diverse by topic and by length. She writes about everything that is important to her; her friends, her education, her writing and literature in general. She shares a wonderful essay on “Hamlet” and its staging  by Jonathan Miller for his 1974 production and an affectionate tribute to Ted (Edward) Gorey, her best friend for decades. She writes about children’s books like “Pinocchio”, “Babar the Elephant” and Harry Potter and she also looks at the world of the mundane and writes about of knitting, aprons, zippers, and aspects of fashion.

Regardless of what she writes about, she looks at each subject with the eyes of a seasoned critic and she frequently draws on her skills as a Pulitzer Prize–winning fiction writer to shape to her thoughts.

I wasn’t familiar with Lurie’s work before reading this book  and I must say that totally enjoyed it.  All of these essays were clever and interesting and informative.

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