Unreich tells her mother’s story with an immediacy that feels close. Though Mira sees some of the worst of what human beings are capable of, she talks about her luck, and the goodness of people. Even in the midst of her worst hunger and bleakest moments, Mira never stops being a beacon of hope for those around her.
Jonathan Rosen became best friends with Michael Lauder at age ten. His outstanding new book, The Best Minds, offers an assiduously researched and compelling portrait of the man. It also raises questions about the responsibilities of friendship, and the human capacity for denial. Twenty-five years have elapsed since Lauder’s criminal unravelling, a span that has given Rosen space and time not only to research the people and ideas of this story, but to sift through his own complex feelings about Lauder and the path his life took.
The basic plot of Places We Left Behind can be read and understood quickly, which Lang acknowledges with her handy timeline at the beginning. However, more thoughtful readings and re-readings allow for an appreciation of the full depth and grace of her journey and what it conveys about the meaning of Jewish practice and human relationships in general.
My reading experience of Fever was equivalent to gulping down water after a long run. I read it with haste and curiosity. I became fascinated by desire and the way Niziolek intellectualizes her vulnerability, placing her own story among the work of contemporary writers, like Sarah Manguso, Jay Ponteri, and Mary Oliver, among others.
Only, how to break into the male-dominated world of film? Not that that was her explicit goal when she graduated, but one thing she did not want to do? “There weren’t many jobs available for a young woman of twenty-one with a degree in comparative literature,” she writes, but she didn’t want to become a secretary. If she did that, “I would irrevocably land on the slippery slope to nowhere.”
A language constitutes a world; that idea is significant in Rho’s memoir. She goes into a Korean shop for lunch with her daughter, and a woman working there encourages her to speak Korean, as does a woman, a minister’s wife, with whom Rho talks on the phone about lessons in Korean for her daughter and son. Growing up, she didn’t speak Korean with her parents.
For Alvin Eng, a Chinese American punk rocker who is now an educator and a playwright, this has meant ‘a spiritual state of homelessness,” moving between the Foo J. Chin Chinese Hand Laundry and an American frame of reference. This reflective and personal narrative is his first memoir, and a change from his dramatic writing.
Bastian Fox Phelan’s memoir How to Be Between leans right into these societal norms, exposing them for the controlling mechanisms that they are, designed to make use feel chronically inadequate so we’re easier to sell to or control. These norms force an unnatural binary between male and female, attractive and unattractive, straight and queer. How to Be Between rejects these binaries and instead offers up the possibility of living a life without such constraints.
As a thirty-nine year old woman who is navigating fertility clinics and the adoption process, I inhaled this book, which is about a woman, Klein, trying to have a baby. In my online yoga class, we are asked to stretch up to the point where it hurts. This is how far Klein takes her writing: to the point it hurts, presumably for her and definitely for the reader.
Angle of Flickering Light tells an honest story. It’s the story of a life in progress, marked at its beginning by a series of small, devastating acts—a parent who should protect and cherish instead abuses.