Charles D’Ambrosio’s moment

04LOPATE-blog427Philip Lopate at The New York Times:

The great promise of essays is the freedom they offer to explore, digress, acknowledge uncertainty; to evade dogmatism and embrace ambivalence and contradiction; to engage in intimate conversation with one’s readers and literary forebears; and to uncover some unexpected truth, preferably via a sparkling literary style. In the preface to “Loitering,” his new and collected essays, Charles D’Ambrosio presents himself as a true believer in the form. Having digested “all of Joan Didion and George Orwell, all of Susan Sontag and Samuel Johnson, all of Edward Abbey and Hunter Thompson and James Baldwin,” he saw essays as “fast friends”: “I must have needed that sort of close attachment, that guidance, the voice holding steady in the face of doubt, the flawed man revealing his flaws, the outspoken woman simplysaying, the brother and the sister — for essays were never a father to me, nor a mother.”

D’Ambrosio has also published two fine collections of short stories, but it is his essays, appearing in literary magazines and previously in an obscure small-press edition, that have been garnering a cult reputation. Now that they are gathered in such a generous collection, we can see he is one of the strongest, smartest and most literate essayists practicing today. This, one would hope, is his moment.

more here.