An intimate and empowering anthology of essays that explore the changing face of female desire in whip-smart, sensuous prose, with pieces by Tara Conklin, Camille Dungy, Melissa Febos, Lisa Taddeo, and others
What is desire? And what are its rules? In this daring collection, award-winning and emerging female writers share their innermost longings, in turn dismantling both personal and political constructs of what desire is or can be.
In the opening essay, Larissa Pham unearths the ache beneath all her wants: time. Rena Priest’s desire for a pair of five-hundred-dollar cowboy boots spurs a reckoning with her childhood on the rez and the fraught history of her hometown. Other pieces in the collection turn cultural tropes around dating, sex, and romance on their heads—Angela Cardinale tries dating as a divorced mother of two in the California suburbs only to discover sweet solace in being alone; Keyanah B. Nurse finds power in polyamory; and when Joanna Rakoff spots a former lover at a bar, the heat between them unravels her family as she is pulled into his orbit—an undoing, she decides, that’s worth everything.
Including pieces by Tara Conklin, Torrey Peters, Camille Dungy, Melissa Febos, Lisa Taddeo, and so many others, these candid and insightful essays tackle the complicated knot of women’s desire.
Featuring essays by Elisa Albert, Kristen Arnett, Molly McCully Brown, Angela Cardinale, Tara Conklin, Sonia Maria David, Jennifer De Leon, Camille T. Dungy, Melissa Febos, Amber Flame, Amy Gall, Aracelis Girmay, Sonora Jha, Nicole Hardy, Laura Joyce-Hubbard, TaraShea Nesbit, Keyanah B. Nurse, Torrey Peters, Amanda Petrusich, Larissa Pham, Rena Priest, Joanna Rakoff, Karen Russell, Domenica Ruta, Susan Shapiro, Terese Svoboda, Lisa Taddeo, Ann Tashi Slater, Abigail Thomas, Merritt Tierce, Michelle Wildgen, Jane Wong, and Teresa Wong
About the Author
MARGOT KAHN is the author of Horses That Buck, the biography of world-champion rodeo cowboy “Cody” Bill Smith, and a collection of poems, A Quiet Day with the West on Fire. She is coeditor, along with Kelly McMasters, of the New York Times Editors’ Choice anthology This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home, and her essays and reviews have appeared in The Rumpus, Lenny Letter, Publishers Weekly, and Bust, among other places. An Ohio native, she lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and son.
KELLY McMASTERS is the author of the forthcoming The Leaving Season: A Memoir and Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town, the basis for the documentary film The Atomic States of America. She is coeditor, along with Margot Kahn, of This Is the Place: Women Writing About Home, and her essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post Magazine, The Paris Review Daily, The American Scholar, and River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative. McMasters is an essayist, professor, mother, and former bookshop owner living in New York.
"In Wanting, writer-editors Margot Kahn and Kelly McMasters have collected 33 deeply intimate and thoughtful essays by women writers on the range of what constitutes desire . . . Wanting is at its best when it's demonstrating the wide scope of what desire can mean, what forms it can take and what its object might be. Like the wide range of topics in this collection, the styles here are a potpourri of prose, wistful and tender one minute, razor-sharp and raw the next . . . Wanting is a wide-ranging collection about desire by women writers that is, like wanting itself, haunting, poignant, vicious, meditative and hopeful, all at once." —Alice Martin, Shelf Awareness
"An impassioned anthology of women’s perspectives on desire . . . The wide-ranging essays reflect the diversity of their authors while sharing a captivating rawness and sincerity. The result is a striking and powerful compendium on the multifaceted nature of longing." —Publishers Weekly
"A stunning collection that will change your life, Wanting is a deep excavation into desire's endless forms and perspectives. No anthology has moved, thrilled, and expanded me as much as this one, delivering essay after essay that shifts desire's ground from under its reader's feet. True to its own subject, Wanting is sure to leave you hungry for more." —Meredith Talusan, author of Fairest