Be with Me Always: Essays

My debut essay collection Be with Me Always was published by the University of Nebraska Press on 1 March 2019 and you can order it here.

Reading dates are below.

Be with Me Always cover FINAL

About the book

“Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you,” Heathcliff begs his dead Cathy in Wuthering Heights. He wants to be haunted—he insists on it. Randon Billings Noble does too. Instead of exorcising the ghosts of her past, she hopes for their cold hands to knock at the window, hopes for them to linger. Be with Me Always is a collection of essays that explore hauntedness, not through conventional ghost stories but by considering the way the ghosts of our pasts cling to our imaginations.

In a way, all good essays are about the things that haunt us, that get under our skin and into our minds and won’t leave until we have at least in some small way embraced or understood them. Here, Noble considers the ways she has been haunted—by a near-death experience, the gaze of a nude model, thoughts of widowhood, Anne Boleyn’s violent death, a book she can’t stop reading, a past lover who shadows her thoughts—in essays both pleasant and bitter, traditional and lyrical, but always evocative and unforgettable.

Advanced praise

“In her brilliant collection Be with Me Always, Randon Billings Noble explores the frailty of romance, of the human body, and of us all, with startling honesty, admirable ingenuity, genuine insight, and, always, with energy and surprise.”—Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire
“A marvel. These essays are lyrical and innovative. . . . Dracula is a guide to a first love, Robinson Crusoe carries her through pregnancy with twins, Terry Tempest Williams helps her survive a cancer diagnosis, and E. M. Forster and Facebook help her manage the strange faces at her high school reunion. I admire Noble and her essays very much.”—Ned Stuckey-French, author of The American Essay in the American Century
“How does a body want? How does a body know? And in wanting and in knowing, why does a body refrain from solidifying desire and knowledge? These are the questions that Randon Billings Noble asks in her essays, which cut so deep into the body.”—Jenny Boully, author of Betwixt-and-Between: Essays on the Writing Life

Reviews

“A motley collection of pieces. . . . Essayist Noble has a focused, tight style, often employing the technique of looking at somewhat discrete items (or memories) and seeking connections among them. . . . Unique eyes look at familiar things and somehow make them seem both odder and more familiar.”—Kirkus

Reading dates