Daphne Merkin is a former staff writer for The New Yorker and a regular contributor to ELLE. Her writing frequently appears in The New York Times, Bookforum, Departures, Travel + Leisure , W, Vogue, Tablet Magazine, and other publications. Merkin has taught writing at the 92nd Street Y, Marymount College, and Hunter College. Her previous books include ENCHANTMENT, which won the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for best novel on a Jewish theme, and two collections of essays, DREAMING OF HITLER and THE FAME LUNCHES, which was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She lives in New York City.
Katie Roiphe: "Fearless, impolitic, honest, darkly observant, these superb essays tell all of our secrets." Chip McGrath: "Daphne Merkin is one of the smartest and best readers I know—not only of books (about which she writes peerlessly) but of people and their preoccupations. She is fiercely honest, even when she turns her unflinching eye on herself, and has such range and such an uncanny ability to draw connections that her essays leave you enlightened about things you never knew you cared about."
Janet Malcolm: "Daphne Merkin's voice is unmistakable in its wit and audacity and undertone of melancholy. The essay form is a perfect medium for her delicious arias."
Phyllis Rose: "Daphne Merkin puts the mark of her distinctive style—intellectual and literary—on everything she writes about, from Kabbalah to camp. This is the juiciest collection of cultural criticism to come along in quite a while and establishes her as a unique and major essayist."
Diane Keaton: "THE FAME LUNCHES is nothing short of a great read. It's filled with unexpected insights into the Complexity, Sorrow, and Beauty of my favorite subject: Women. Everything Daphne Merkin touches glows in the light of her shining talent."
Woody Allen: "Daphne Merkin's sparkling and unreasonably informed essays are about fame, yes, and lunches, somewhat. Above all, they are strikingly original takes on the human condition."
Erica Jong: "THE FAME LUNCHES is a delicious and delightful feast. What a pleasure to read a writer who can use language with joy and inventiveness. Daphne Merkin has taken the essay form back to its roots in Michel Montaigne, Joseph Addison, Richard Steele, and Samuel Johnson. Her range is vast, her intellect inspiring. Whether you agree with her conclusions or not, watching her mind work is a thing of beauty."
"[Merkin] narrates what happened and how it felt to her. And she does so with insight, grace and excruciating clarity, in exquisite and sometimes darkly humorous prose...This is not a how-to-get-better book, but we hardly need another one of those; it is a how-to-be-desolate book, which is an altogether more crucial manual...It is standard fare to say that books on depression are brave, but this one actually is. For all its highly personal focus, it is an important addition to the literature of mental illness." New York Times Book Review
"...one of the most accurate, and therefore most harrowing, accounts of depression to be written in the last century....Ms. Merkin speaks candidly and beautifully about aspects of the human condition that usually remain pointedly silent." Wall Street Journal
"As insightful and beautifully written as it is brave. (...) THIS CLOSE TO HAPPY earns a place among the canon of books on depression, including Andrew Solomon's THE NOONDAY DEMON, William Styron's DARKNESS VISIBLE and Susanna Kaysen's GIRL, INTERRUPTED, books that offer comfort to fellow depressives and elucidation for those lucky enough to have dodged its scourge." The Washington Post
"There is no one who writes the sentences Merkin does; and her account of depression is both personal, literary and, at the same time, existential, as it visits her across decades and stages of life."Forbes
"There are at least half a dozen thought exercises at play in Merkin's memoir. Probably the most prominent of those, though, is the challenge: how to make a depression memoir that's an enjoyable read...Clinical depression is, after all, a paralyzing, unrelenting, frequently boring stew. Or, as Merkin characterizes it in her opening pages, an 'all-too-common, unexotically normal psychological albatross'...A drag, in other words. Here's what's not a drag: Merkin's ranging, nimble, eloquent intellect in a pitched battle with the albatross...And, as promised, Merkin stays true to the dismal reality of chronic depression, but in a warm, articulate, positive-outlook kind of way." Bookforum