Marina was a class below me, and we crossed paths in English seminars several times. Though I can’t claim to have had the pleasure of knowing her personally, I felt very connected to much of what she had written by virtue of having inhabited the same university. Her writing is beautiful and I really enjoyed reading through each of her stories and essays. I have to say that I was particularly drawn to the short stories more so than the non-fiction works, but I think that’s just a matter of political leaning on some of them. The experience of reading her work was bittersweet, knowing that she had such talent that will never fully develop.
This is a great book for someone in his or her early 20s (that’s not to say its appeal isn’t broader), especially recent graduates. In part that view is driven by the essay that the book takes its title from, which was published in the Yale Daily News shortly before her death and ultimately read over a million times. She writes of clinging sentimentally to the magic of the college experience while at the same time facing the excitement of moving on and into the so-called real world. If you want a taste of her writing, you can read the article, if you haven’t already done so, here. I think it's fair to say that if you like what you read, you'll probably enjoy her book.
I'll leave you with the following passage from her story "Cold Pastoral" that I just found myself rereading. The story is told from the perspective of a girl whose boyfriend (or to be more accurate, the guy she was hooking up with) had just died. She writes,
"I was in a seminar my senior year where we read poems by John Keats. He has this famous one called 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' where these two lovers are almost kissing, frozen with their faces cocked beneath a tree. The tragedy, the professor said, is in eternal stasis. She never fades, they never kiss; but I remember finding the whole thing vaguely romantic."