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“I have an endless fascination about my ability to see myself. I feel like I try really hard to catch myself at that… I suppose I’ve come to regard myself with a kind of affectionate suspicion.”

In a telephone call on vacation in Idaho Springs, Colorado, Alexander Chee inadvertently sums up the reason behind the emphatic success of his first collection of interconnected essays, How to Write an Autobiographical. This affectionate suspicion is seen so clearly in the impressive breadth of topics he covers, from tarot card reading — which he once did professionally — to the cultivation of a garden, a teenage summer trip to Mexico, the Aids crisis, and, of course, writing.

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