Through some marvelous coincidence/confluence/coordinance (is that even a word?), two – count ’em, two – pieces about Marina Keegan’s book The Opposite of Loneliness ran in yesterday’s Boston Globe.
Start with Joseph P. Kahn’s Page One feature.
Her young life is lost, but her words are for posterity
Book collects writings of crash victim Marina Keegan
WAYLAND — Her young life ended two years ago in a tragic car accident five days after her college graduation. Her commencement essay in the Yale campus newspaper quickly went viral, drawing more than 1.4 million views. In an outpouring of tributes to the 22-year-old writer, many hailed her as the “voice of her generation.”
Now comes a collection of Marina Keegan’s essays and stories, being published this week by Scribner. Titled “The Opposite of Loneliness,” after the essay that brought Keegan worldwide attention, it marks a bittersweet milestone for the author’s family, friends, and academic mentors, all of whom have struggled with her loss.
And yet, they say, what a gift Keegan has left behind. Not only in her written words — she also wrote plays, poetry, and literary criticism — but also in her legacy of social activism and fierce belief in leading a life of purpose, not privilege. That was the challenge laid down to her Yale University classmates in “Loneliness,” and it has powerfully resonated ever since, according to many close to Keegan.
It certainly resonated with the same day’s G section of the Globe, which featured this piece by Sophie Flack.
A keen collection of stories from a light that dimmed too soon
When Marina Keegan wasn’t tapped to join one of Yale’s secret societies, she gave herself less than two hours to wallow in disappointment, then pledged to spend the time she would have spent “chatting in a tomb” writing a book. Five days after graduation, Keegan was killed in a car accident on Cape Cod. She was 22.
“The Opposite of Loneliness” is a record of that time better spent. The book of nine short stories and nine essays takes its title from Keegan’s last essay to appear in the Yale Daily News, which went viral in the days after her death when it was read by 1.4 million people in 98 countries. In it Keegan writes with an eerie urgency: “We can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.”
In yesterday’s Boston Globe, at least, Marina Keegan had a lot of possibilities.