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I have written a few reviews for LLF over the last couple of years, but I have never said this about any book I’ve reviewed: this is a book I wish I had written. This was not the first time I had read Van Meter’s work, having read his essays in top literary journals such as Fourth Genre as well as Best American Essays 2009. This collection brings fourteen of Van Meter’s essays together, ordering them in a way that creates a sense of cohesion for the entire book while still allowing each essay to stand on its own. And he does this while creating seemingly simple yet lilting sentences that flow together easily. This is a book that many will be able to read for pure pleasure, while others will want to study it closely, asking, “How does he do that?”
If You Knew Then What I Know Now
by Ryan Van Meter
Paperback, 9781932511949, 209 pp.