David L. Ulin at The LA Times:
I started keeping a diary twenty-five years ago,” the book begins. “It's eight hundred thousand words long.”
We live, of course, in a diaristic era. This April, Heidi Julavits will publish “The Folded Clock,” which uses the diary as a source of revelation and reflection; meanwhile, Karl Ove Knausgaard has become a lightning rod for his 3,600-page autobiographical “My Struggle” (the fourth volume is due out in the U.S. in early May).
Manguso's intent, however, is different — not to re-create her diary but to meditate on it, as both artifact and pathology. There is nothing in “Ongoingness” about the decision to come to Los Angeles, first in 2010 and then again, after moving back to New York, in 2013. There are no proper nouns, no names, few reference points other than the obsessive weight of the diary itself.
As she acknowledges in the early pages, “I wrote so I could say I was truly paying attention. Experience in itself wasn't enough. The diary was my defense against waking up at the end of my life and realizing I'd missed it.”