Blueberries by Ellena Savage


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“A structural thrill of a collection, each of these personal essays moves with a vulnerable ferocity toward a smart, intense conclusion.

Savage’s essays range widely in structure, some of them spliced with poetry and others interrupted by what would be witty footnotes in other works, her self-doubt and her consoling psyche disrupting the clean narrative. The result is a heightened intimacy, as though you’re inside her mind as memory reckons with present understanding.

While the topics—home and being a woman in this world, assault, recalled trauma, and a very expensive education—have been trawled before, even similarly through the lens of too-smart privileged literary criticism, a detached observation of other people living their lives, and an often self-critical and pointed self-awareness, it is this experimental structure that sets it apart.

I devoured this collection, each page ripe with perfect sentences, fluid ideas, and the perspicacity of a writer’s writer.”


Essay, poetry, true-crime journalism, polemic and confession come together in Ellena Savage’s startling take on the modern memoir.

Blueberries could be described as a collection of essays, the closest term available for a book that resists classification; a blend of personal essay, polemic, prose poetry, true-crime journalism and confession that considers a fragmented life, reflecting on what it means to be a woman, a body, and an artist. It is both a memoir and an interrogation of memoir. Drawing comparisons to Maggie Nelson, Leslie Jamison, Ada Calhoun and Eula Biss, this is a new horizon in storytelling. In crystalline prose, Savage explores the essential questions of the examined life: What is it to desire? What is it to accommodate oneself to the world? And at what cost?

Blueberries by Ellena Savage