Regardless, here’s a quote from him, courtesy of :
“The compound seems inescapable: a piece of writing may be aesthetically true, yet verifiably false; just as it can be—as is so much contemporary memoir—verifiably true but aesthetically false.”
Atwan series-edits Best American Essays. I love/hate the idea of a thing being a best American essay. But I tend to love Atwan. Here’s something else he once wrote, which I’ve told students for years: Essays are all about seeing a mind at work.