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.
Near the middle of the book, Smith concludes her elimination experiment. Changing her habits has helped her regain her equilibrium, but the shift is not as drastic as she envisioned. Life looks the same as it did pre-pandemic but clearly something in her inner experience has changed.
Restless Dolly Maunder is an easy and fast-paced read. It may be labelled as fiction, and certainly Grenville uses all of her narrative capabilities to create such a compelling character, but the book is as much a story of Australia’s history as it is the tale of a strong, intelligent and thwarted woman whose struggles helped transform the lives of generations to follow.
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.
Rachel Rueckert is an award-winning writer, editor, and teacher. She holds an MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University as well as an M.Ed from Boston University. As a seventh-generation Utahn, her favorite subjects include place, family, mental health, unconventional spirituality, and climate change. In this in-depth interview, Rachel speaks about her new memoir East Winds.
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There is a tension between old and new that remains a keynote throughout the book. Learning to accept the duality of her nationality, Eva reclaims her old self and her old name and transforms it into a unique hybrid. Ask No Questions is a book that explores serious topics. The trauma and sadness of the refugee experience is rarely covered through the viewpoint of a child, and Eva teases out that perspective with poetic delicacy, tracing the way in which this perception changes through time.
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.