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There are the people she sees at parties and the two men she was married to, briefly, in her youth. Gornick, the author of 11 other works of nonfiction including biography, sociology and criticism, has over the decades become a kind of ambassador for those most contested, conflicted of American genres, the personal essay and the memoir. Analyses of Gissing and Seymour Krim are also borrowed from earlier work. Really, then, this is a kind of memoir-anthology: a composite Gornick. The effect of all the hopping between present and past is like that of a psychoanalytic monologue, a mind circling a central question: How did I come to be this way?