From the best–selling author of Drinking: A Love Story and Appetites: Why Women Want comes this unforgettable collection spanning fifteen years of observations on modern culture and women’s lives. Caroline Knapp’s readers are known not just for their number, but for their intense connection to her work. Knapp connected so well in part because of the intense focus she brought to her subjects. Now, with The Merry Recluse: A Life in Essays, Knapp shows us that her vision through a wider lens is as brilliant as through a narrow one. These essays paint the fullest picture of this wonderful writer that we’ve yet seen, but they are also a full portrait of a writing life, showing how the same themes can engage––and expand––a writer over a lifetime. Knapp, who died in 2002, was considered one of the country’s more intelligent and graceful voices in memoirs. This collection also shows her to be a witty, provocative observer of the world around her.