the opposite of loneliness
An affecting and hope-filled posthumous collection of essays and stories from the talented young Yale graduate whose title essay captured the world’s attention in 2012 and turned her into an icon for her generation.
Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated magna cum laude from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash.
As her family, friends, and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness,” went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord.
Even though she was just twenty-two when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina’s essays and stories that, like The Last Lecture, articulates the universal struggle that all of us face as we figure out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.
reviews and awards
Two years ago, Marina Keegan’s life brimmed with promise. She was graduating with high honors from Yale University, already a precocious writer about to take up a job at The New Yorker.
New York Times Non-Fiction Best Seller
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The Oprah Magazine
Sparkl[ing] with talent, humanity and youth.
The Opposite of Loneliness, her collected essays and fiction (sue me, I’m putting it on this list anyways), is insightful, self-aware, and full of all the hope and promise of youth. It will make you wish — for many reasons — that you could read more.
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reviews and awards
“Two years after a young writer’s death, her words soar. . . . The Opposite of Loneliness is a posthumous collection of her fiction and nonfiction pieces, and it sparkles with talent, humanity, and youth. The prose, polished but thoroughly unselfconscious, is heartbreaking evidence of what could have been." –– Leigh Haber, The Oprah Magazine
"A triumph. . . . Keegan was right to prod us all to reflect on what we seek from life, to ask these questions, to recognize the importance of passions as well as pay checks –– even if there are no easy answers." –– Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times
"Marina left behind a rich, deeply expansive trove of writing that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation. " –– Goodreads
“The writing Marina Keegan leaves behind offers a tantalizing taste of a literary voice still in development
yet already imbued with unusual insight, nuance, humor, and sensitivity.” –– Deborah Treisman, fiction editor,The New Yorker
"The loveliest piece of writing I've ever seen from someone so young. . . . Her voice is steady and often very funny, her sense of character and pace are frighteningly good, and the flow of her prose is easy to get carried away by. She wasn't just college-talented; she talent talented, period." –– Kevin Roose, New York Magazine
"What a gift Keegan has left behind. Not only in her written words... but also in her legacy of social activism and fierce belief in leading a life of purpose, not privilege." –– Joseph P. Kahn, The Boston Globe
"I will never cease mourning the loss of my beloved former student Marina Keegan. This book gives partial evidence of the extraordinary promise that departed with her. Throughout she manifests authentic dramatic invention and narrative skill. Beyond all those, she makes a vital appeal to everyone in her generation not to waste their gifts in mere professionalism but instead to invest their youthful pride and exuberance both in self-development and in the improvement of our tormented society.” –– Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities and English, Yale University
“In her brief life Marina Keegan managed to achieve a precocious literary mastery. Her wry, wise, lyrical voice is unforgettable, and her vital, exuberant spirit reminds us powerfully to seize the day. Though every sentence throbs with what might have been, this remarkable collection is ultimately joyful and inspiring, because it represents the wonder that she was.”-–– J.R. Moehringer, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author of The Tender Bar
"These words serve as a powerful reminder that this “opposite of loneliness” — togetherness, interconnection, humor, compassion — is, at the end of the day, what we’re all here to create in our lives." –– The Huffington Post
“Only 22 years old at the time of her tragic death, Marina Keegan was already a remarkably talented writer.The Opposite of Loneliness, her collected essays and fiction (sue me, I’m putting it on this list anyways), is insightful, self-aware, and full of all the hope and promise of youth. It will make you wish — for many reasons — that you could read more." –– BuzzFeed Books
"Sometimes you read a book that just stays with you. The words are so powerful and so real that once they enter your mind they stay for days, for weeks or perhaps even forever. 'The Opposite of Loneliness' is one of those books. In my mind, Marina Keegan has become the voice of our generation, and it’s one you need to hear." –– The Elite Daily
"Her voice is so fresh, her enthusiasm so appealing, her ambition so great that you cannot help but wonder what she might have achieved with more life experience and once she was freed from the hothouse environment of an Ivy League school." –– The Financial Times
"This is a must-read for those who believe in the need for living each moment of their lives fully as if it is their last, for it may just be so. –– The Express Tribune
"A new voice of her generation" –– The Hartford Courant
“Many of my students sound forty years old. They are articulate but derivative, their own voices muffled by their desire to skip over their current age and experience, which they fear trivial, and land on some version of polished adulthood without passing Go. Marina was twenty-one and sounded twenty-one: a brainy twenty-one, a twenty-one who knew her way around the English language, a twenty-one who understood that there were few better subjects than being young and uncertain and starry-eyed and frustrated and hopeful. When she read her work aloud around our seminar table, it would make us snort with laughter, and then it would turn on a dime and break our hearts.” –– Anne Fadiman, Yale University Professor of English and Francis Writer in Residence and author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down and Ex Libris
“Illuminates the optimism and neurosis felt by new grads everywhere. . . Like every millenial who’s seen irony elevated to an art form, Keegan brings self-awareness to the collective insecurity of her peers even as she captures it with a precision that only comes from someone who feels it too. How unfortunate that she will never know the value readers will find in her work.” –– Publishers Weekly
“[Keegan’s short stories] are ferociously insightful. . . . As humane as it is sympathetic, Keegan’s work is a poignantly inspiring reminder of what is possible in the pursuit of dreams.” –– Kirkus Reviews
“Funny, poignant, tender, and fiercely alive, The Opposite of Loneliness contains the keen observations of a short lifetime—and the wisdom of a much longer one.” –– Jennifer DuBois, author of Cartwheel and A Partial History of Lost Causes
"How do you mourn the loss of a fiery talent that was barely a tendril before it was snuffed out? Answer: Read this book. A clear-eyed observer of human nature, Keegan could take a clever idea...and make it something beautiful." –– People Magazine
Goodreads Choice Awards Best Nonfiction 2014
New York Times Nonfiction Bestseller 2014
Popsugar Best Books 2014
Mashable 21 Page-Turning Books of 2014
The Express Tribune Best of 2014: Books
BuzzFeed 19 Best Nonfiction Books of 2014