Notecard: The two perspectives of memoirs

The memoirist’s binocular vision lets the reader experience the story from two points of view: the writer as character in the moment and as narrator after the fact. The narrating self, very often the adult self—who shapes story out of raw hunks of observation and partial understanding—is typically privileged, congratulated for its discernment and given all the good lines. But that unstoried self understands a great deal in its commotion, in its inability to keep anything compartmentalized, and it loses something when experience is squeezed to release trickles of insight.

from The Tyranny of the Tale by Parul Sehgal via The New Yorker

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