Because I am an idiot (and because it was way cheaper), I bought this massive weapon of a book in a single volume, rather than the super-portable trilBecause I am an idiot (and because it was way cheaper), I bought this massive weapon of a book in a single volume, rather than the super-portable trilogy edition. It's been staring at me reproachfully for weeks, so I finally took a big Cutco knife to it and DIY'd it into two volumes. I haven't had to do that since I read Infinite Jest, but it was totally worth it.
Checking in after finishing tonight, it seems that I spent five full weeks with this book, which is longer than I've spent with anyone other than Pynchon and DFW, I think? So that's crazy, but also somewhat lovely, as those guys and this guy are all among my most favorites ever. Also I read three graphic novels interspersed with 1Q84, the last of which was Rasl, another book that moves creepily between worlds.
So let's just say I've had some strange dreams over the last week.
In any case, 1Q84. As with The Instructions, this book doesn't actually feel long, despite being 1200 freaking pages. It has such an easy flow, such a compelling pace (though slightly plodding in its meticulousness), that it just slid right along. I actually sort of feel like it wasn't long enough, as there are a couple of questions that I don't think ever got properly answered. I think I said this about Against the Day, but a book like this is a little bit like reading an entire life; just sitting on someone's shoulder as they go about their every day, so naturally it feels like you just want to keep following them, day after day, forever.
On to other things about this book. It's got all the Murakami building blocks that we have come to expect:
So that was comforting. In fact, comforting is really the main adjective I would use to describe this reading experience. Yes, I know, the book does contain murder, incest, rape, child neglect, religious fundamentalism, torture, and on and on. But yet, it's not gory, or explicit, or harsh. All these things are dealt with in the same slow, measured, matter-of-fact tone and pace as the more "normal" parts, and moreover, the harshness amounts to a very very small percentage of the book overall.
I'm dancing around doing any plot explication, but here are some of the other things to be found in this book: ghostwriting, smoking hash, mystical "little people," moon(s), cats and owls, a gun (along with a discussion of Chekhov, and whether a gun introduced into a story must eventually be fired), loneliness, despair, shadow selves, long train rides, cute nurses.
So I definitely don't mean to say that it's boring—just slow. Methodical. Placid. Calm.
Which I definitely don't mind! Although I suppose I have to admit that I don't think this is as good as Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, and perhaps a lot of that has to do with how much more electrifying the latter is. It might even also have to do with how much shorter Wind-Up Bird is, and that is by no means a short book. I mean, while I wouldn't say 1Q84 ever exactly dragged, I do think he could have sliced out at least 200 pages just through a bit of stern editorial oversight.
I am known to be pretty fucking elitist and cranky, and for most authors, if I felt like a book could loose two hundred goddamn pages, I would probably never read that person again. But I don't know what it is about Murakami; to me reading him is like wrapping up in my favorite soft threadbare hoodie—it's just so damn comfortable, I forget to notice that there's a hole in the pocket, one of the seams is unraveling, and it's got a couple of pretty noticeable stains.
I don't know if that metaphor works or what. But I did love this book, just like I've loved every other book he's written, and will probably love everything else he ever does. ...more
Another amazing-sounding book rec'd by the awesome Emily Books.
Anna O. is a thirtyish New Yorker living in the squalid East Village of 1990. Dead friAnother amazing-sounding book rec'd by the awesome Emily Books.
Anna O. is a thirtyish New Yorker living in the squalid East Village of 1990. Dead friends and junkies on the sidewalk are a fact of life, and worsening political unrest is threatening to destroy the world as she knows it. Plus, she's always falling for the wrong women. She needs help, and she finds it -- or does she? -- in the person of Doc, a street-corner therapist who charges $10 and only sees each of his patients three times because "I get what I need out of it by the third session and you can too." Doc diagnoses Anna with empathy, but it seems like her problems might be more complicated. Such as: does she exist? Does Doc? Do you?...more
I bought this in London at the stunning little London Review of Books shop. Books really look different in the UK! It's so strange thinking of how marI bought this in London at the stunning little London Review of Books shop. Books really look different in the UK! It's so strange thinking of how marketing works; I pulled several books off the shelf whose covers made me think I would love them—only to realize that they were books I had hated or had already judged unworthy of my time. Weirdly though, this one is kind of terrible; it looks from the cover like it's going to be a thriller or something, which it most assuredly is not.
All of which I guess is to say that my tastes might be completely different if I lived in London? What an ontologically troubling thought. ...more
So look, Amazon bought Goodreads so they could turn us all into data and capture the elusive beast "discoverability" (a beast in large part created beSo look, Amazon bought Goodreads so they could turn us all into data and capture the elusive beast "discoverability" (a beast in large part created because all the goddamn bookstores were driven out of business by, um, Amazon). Which makes me kind of want to cloak and deny what brings me to a book, right? Just to at least make them work for it. But then for fuck's sake, I often leave little breadcrumb-reviews of how I heard of a particular book for myself, because I do not go out and buy every book I want the very second I want it (if only!), and I will want to remember, many moons hence when I am scrolling through this list, why I to-read-ed something or another. Meaning that refusing to leave myself these notes would be a classic case of cutting off nose to spite face. So no.
And honestly, it's not like the discoverability I will lead Great God Amazon to would be such a surprise—I am a product of my demographic, my location, my habits. Obviously I read what Vice tells me to, what Flavorwire tells me to, what the wonderful authors I love and friends I respect tell me to. Isn't everyone like this? Why did goddamn Amazon have to buy Goodreads, presumably signaling the death of its innocence, its neutrality, and its candor, just to fucking find that out?
Gah, it is so sad and stupid. Whatever.
So look, let me just come right out with it: Hey Amazon Overlords, guess what! I read about this book in Flavorwire (which I love), wherein Heidi Juliavatis (whom I love) is quoted as saying this (which I love):
Woke Up Lonely is the novel equivalent of a sonic boom — it builds, it explodes, it leaves your ears, mind, and soul ringing for days. Who else writes sentences like this, who else writes sound art prose that transports a heart-killing story of human frailty, susceptibility, loyalty, and isolation? No one.
What do you know? That's three... what's the opposite of a strike? Unstrike? Fine, that's three unstrikes for Fiona, which means I now very very badly want to read this book.
Got that, Amazon Overlords? Now can you please retract your Goodreads purchase since I've gone ahead and solved the problem for you?
For a semi-refutation of part of this review (the part about discoverability being mappable) but a reinforcement of the main thrust of it (argh, Amazon), check out what I wrote about Hidden Cities.
Oh, and about Woke Up Lonely itself? This is rather anticlimactic after all that, but it turns out I really didn't like the book at all. Heidi promised me "sound art prose," and this book features nothing of the kind. It features instead a sprawling plot, too many unevenly developed and unlikable characters, some sort of wacky hijinks, international intrigue, heartstring-tugging, and a host of other things that are not what I expected and not what I particularly enjoy. Pretty disappointing....more
From Flavorpill: Confessional journalists have people like Mary MacLane to thank for their blunt style of autobiographical writing. The 19-year-old giFrom Flavorpill: Confessional journalists have people like Mary MacLane to thank for their blunt style of autobiographical writing. The 19-year-old girl from Butte, Montana shocked everyone after publishing I Await the Devil’s Coming in 1902 — she was a self-proclaimed genius that lusted after the Devil, wrote about her desire for other women, and became a best-selling sensation practically overnight.
So listen. Look. I am a READER, right? I mean, I read all the time, everywhere, every day, a book a week. But most of the time the book I'm reading isSo listen. Look. I am a READER, right? I mean, I read all the time, everywhere, every day, a book a week. But most of the time the book I'm reading is a dull throb beneath my fingers, a soft hum behind my eyes, a lovely way to spend a bit of time in between things as I meander through my life. You know? It's something I adore, but softly, passively, and often forgetfully—very nice while it's happening, but flitting away quickly after I'm on to the next.
And then sometimes there is a book that is more like a red hot fucking coal, a thrum nearly audible whenever I'm close to it, a magnetic pull that stops me doing anything else and zings me back so strongly that I just want to bury myself in its tinnitus at all times—five minutes in line a the bank, two minutes in the elevator, thirty seconds while my coffee date checks her email—gorging myself with sentences and paragraphs until the whole world recedes and shrivels into flat black-and-white nothing.
This, this, this is one of those books. It's a book that bracingly reaffirms my faith in literature, making me endlessly astonished by its power and poise and brilliance. I know I am constantly chided for hyperbole, but this is truly one of the greatest books I've ever read.
Probably it's a result of the endless march of mediocre books that plague the publishing industry these days—self-pub and traditional; I'm holding the major presses hella accountable too—but a book like this, so full and deep and flawlessly constructed, is just such a shock, such a pure clear joy. Every element is fucking perfect. Every element, truly! The plot, the characters, the pacing, the tone, all the little details, so so many tiny details, all perfectly, astonishingly slotted into place; the patois and the slang and the dialogue and the descriptions, oh my god the descriptions, from a smile to a chandelier to a mood; even the goddamn chapter epigraphs, which, who even reads those? But they're perfect, she's perfect, this book is just a knock-down, drag-out wonder.
And it covers so much ground, with no shortcuts: from the Upper West Side moneyed elite to gambling addicts in the suburbs of Vegas, from a Lower East Side drug den for decadents gone to seed to the charming Christmastime streets of Amsterdam. Nothing is two-dimensional: if a characters restores furniture, you will learn so goddamn much about wood and veneers and myriad adherents; if another is a sailor, you will feel the wind in your hair and the goddamn spray of surf on your cheeks.
Philosophy, art history, baccarat, heroin. Proust, childhood bullies, Russian drug-dealers. The cut of a jewel, the play of light through a crooked blind. The way a small dog remembers someone it hasn't seen in ten years. The way the very rich handle mental illness in the family. The way a teenage boy feels after taking acid for the first time. The bonds between people that last a lifetime, many lifetimes. The power of art to change a life, to change a million lives; the immortality of a work of art and the line of beauty that connects generation after generation of appreciators. How it feels to be always and ever in love with the wrong person—and how perfect and perfectly flawed she is, or he is, all the same. The way people age. The way people cling to each other at the wrongest of times, in the unlikeliest ways. The way people talk, my god, there is a Russian character (probably the best character in the book) who learned to speak English in Australia and you can really hear that fucking incomprehensible accent, the hitch of verbs mis-conjugated in just the right ways, the tossing out of slang words in four different languages, so casual and so perfectly apt. The way a life is made of recurrences, circlings back and back, openings out and out and out.
What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can't be trusted—? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all that blandly held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster? If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to run away? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Or is it better to throw yourself headfirst and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?
Five stars, five hundred stars, five million. ALL THE GODDAMN STARS FOR DONNA TARTT FOREVER. ...more
Unlike The Dud Avocado, this one I am certain was recommended to me via the great Emily Gould, who picked it for her March book club selection. HereUnlike The Dud Avocado, this one I am certain was recommended to me via the great Emily Gould, who picked it for her March book club selection. Here's what she says:
Renata Adler's singular approach to the novel created an unforgettable impressionistic portait of life in 1970s New York. Narrator Jen Fain describes scenes from her life in all their peculiarity and splendor, granting encounters with lovers, street vermin, celebrities and taxi drivers equal significance. The result is a book that's funny and disturbing, wholly unlike any other. The world through Adler's eyes is never quite a comfortable place, but for the duration of Speedboat, readers will be enthralled by access to her brilliant, cutting perspective.
Except, not quite.
This is so whirlingly not what I expected! It reminds me a bit of The Book of Disquiet; it's equally disjointed, meandering, a million short bursts of observation, tiny moments, brief exchanges, lithe descriptions.
I do understand that they will slowly add up to a whole, like one of those pictures made up of a thousand tiny postage stamps or whatever, but the reading experience here is like looking at one of those pictures when you are yourself the size of the stamp, as opposed to being able to step back and view the whole. Does that make any sense?
Maybe what I mean is that a book like this has no urgency, no driving force, and is therefore difficult to charge through, and maybe right now I'm in a mood to charge. So off I go, charging toward something else....more
Oh la, I have the greatest friends: Karen Queen of Goodreads and Greg King of B&N conspired to help me get my hot little hands on an ARC of this aOh la, I have the greatest friends: Karen Queen of Goodreads and Greg King of B&N conspired to help me get my hot little hands on an ARC of this a bunch of months before it's published.
But of course, I now find myself in a very precarious position. I mean, I want to jump and shout and tell you all about this crazy amazing book and how brilliant and sprawling and incredible it is! But that would be irresponsible and cruel, because this book is just loaded with spoiler-traps, and it would be awful of me to ruin it for anyone.
So I find myself a little tongue-tied.
I will say this, as lightly as I can: This is the story of cult film director Stanislas Cordova, a reclusive figure who hasn't appeared in public in forty years, whose films are all made on his sprawling upstate New York estate—films whose actors and actresses tend to disappear to the remotest corners of the world once production wraps, films that are only shown in creepy underground secret screenings, films that are so twisted and dark that some people lose their shit after watching them and others dedicate their lives to figuring them out. It is also the story of Cordova's hauntingly beautiful daughter, who opens the book by committing suicide, and the semi-disgraced journalist who is going to do whatever it goddamn takes to figure out why.
That's it for the plot. I'm not telling you a single other thing.
However I will also say this: I am so so so so glad Marisha waited a million years to publish this, rather than just shitting something else out right after Special Topics in Calamity Physics that could ride the coattails of its success. I kind of want to believe that she spent every day of all those years painstakingly building the world of this book, because it is that full, that exacting, that exquisitely detailed. I kept picturing her in her like writer's room meticulously working out each point of the plot and setting and cast of each of Cordova's films, then roaming all around the city until she found just the perfect apartment or shop or hotel for each of the book's scenes to take place in, then driving upstate and hiking through the woods in order to fully describe each leaf and stump and mudpuddle to be found there.
What I'm trying to say is that this book feels just like life. It's set in our reality, in my city, at this time, and it is very hard to believe that there actually aren't people in the Parisian catacombs showing Cordova films at midnight, that there really isn't a super-secret online community dedicated to parsing every symbol and detail of every one of his scenes.
And you know what? Maybe there is. Maybe Marisha has so fully created that reality that it does exist somewhere. That's one of the biggest themes in this book, I think: that two realities can exist simultaneously—one full of witchcraft and the other full of science, or one full of calculated terror and the other full of blasé whimsy, or one full of endless bliss and the other full of life-wrecking addiction.
Anyway. I clearly want to keep gushing and gushing, but I'll stop.
Final note: this book is going to blow the fuck up as soon as it's released, so get it fast, before some asshole who has less restraint than I do spoilers it all up....more
This is one of the most intense books I have ever read. But it's almost like it isn't trying to be intense; it's written in these short little snips—aThis is one of the most intense books I have ever read. But it's almost like it isn't trying to be intense; it's written in these short little snips—a quote here, a paragraph there, a page and a half next—flowing from subject to subject, at a constant remove, an increasing-then-releasing philosophical distance, twisting in and around on itself (what a perfect cover design, BTW), yanking you into and out of its intensity so many times that it leaves you breathless.
This is Nick Flynn's memoir of co-producing a movie based on his previous memoir, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. So it's a memoir of a memoir of a memoir. Which, I don't really think that's ever been done before, has it?
And the original memoir—to give the briefest, most reductive summary—is about Nick's time, after his mother's suicide, of becoming an alcoholic and drug addict, of living alone on a boat, of working in a homeless shelter for years until the day that his father, whom he hasn't seen in like a decade, wanders in in search of a room. It then proceeds to catalogue several years in the lives of Nick and his father (delusions of grandeur, a frightening mess, often psychotic and abusive and always unstable). Dad getting kicked out of the shelter (again) for being psychotic and abusive and unstable, Nick finding Dad sleeping on the street in the snow, Nick finding Dad a apartment, Dad crumbling and crazying further, Nick stumbling through his own erratic love life and consuming addictions, on and on and on.
Here is the question that this book asks, that the writing of this book and the living of its story forced the writer through: What would it be like to watch a movie being made of your life?
For most of us: disassociating and megalomaniac probably, in turns.
But what would it be like to watch a movie being made, say, of your mother's suicide and your dubious self-distancing from your father's dissolution? What if you had to not just watch Julianne Moore read your mother's suicide note and then shoot herself in the chest, but then give her notes on the tone of her voice, the quaver in the hand with which she holds the pen, the gun? What if you had to listen to the cruelest, most damning things your father ever screamed at you spew forth from the mouth of Robert De Niro, after bringing him to visit the shelter you once were complicit in kicking your father out of? What if you had to tell the props mistress what the pipe you used to smoke crack out of looked like, to hold its replica in your hand, after years of being clean and sober? How could you live through reliving the rawest, most harrowing moments of your life, your deepest sorrows actualized before you, take after take after take?
Does that give you some small idea about the intensity of this book?
And that's not all, not by a long long way. The book is also a thematic triptych, with the two other prongs being 1) an endlessly unspooling meditation on psychological and physical trauma and the recovery from same, with quotes and asides from literature, from history, from philosophy, and 2) the history of a glass-blowing family whose life's work was to make, out of glass, all the flowers in the (then-)known world—many of which are still on display in a museum in Boston where Nick's mom used to bring him as a child.
Around and around and around.
I only just closed the book minutes ago, so forgive me if I'm still reeling, still catching my breath, still parsing my overflowed emotions. I haven't yet gone back to reread all the gorgeous sentences I underlined, all the brain-twisting paragraphs I circled for return and reflection, all the heart-rending pages I dog-eared to quote from while trying to explain what a fiercely horrifying and spectacularly affecting book this is. I don't think I can go back in just yet. I will soon, I suppose, once the shimmer has worn off—but for now I'm going to go ride my bike around in the dark and try to process....more
Amy has such an unusual sense of pacing and flow. Her meditations meander in short chopped bits, taking strange and fascinating turns and loops and puAmy has such an unusual sense of pacing and flow. Her meditations meander in short chopped bits, taking strange and fascinating turns and loops and pulling you headlong through the pages.
I copyedited these two short books for McSweeney's and then another book Amy is (I believe) self-publishing, one after the other after the other, so the themes and topics between the three are blurred. But she wanders through everything from learning to ride a motorcycle to taking a class on tightrope walking, from the differences between Japanese and American playgrounds to details of a childhood sexual assailant. She also discourses on parenthood and stillness and being in a place and travel and fear and time and its vagaries and oh, so many other things.
I just read the McSwy's blurb on this book, and they're right: this stuff is half clear-eyed memoiring and half philosophical riffing, and it definitely makes the world strange again. Really wonderful....more
Here's a text conversation I had with my friend Megan:
M: Have you read Treasure Island!!! by Sarah Levine? O: No! What is it? M: Um, a book. You may likHere's a text conversation I had with my friend Megan:
M: Have you read Treasure Island!!! by Sarah Levine? O: No! What is it? M: Um, a book. You may like it. O: Ha, okay.
[Megan brings me the book, which I dutifully add to my terrifyingly high, teetering to-read stack. A month passes. I read this and that and the other, and then I pick this up.]
O: Holy fuck, why didn't you tell me this book was endorsed by both Adam Levin and Aimee Bender?????? M: Um, because I don't know who they are. O: AAAAAHHHH they're like two of my most favorite authors ever I am starting this book right the fuck now. Also I will loan you The Girl in the Flammable Skirt right away.
[And I did.]
So this book is pretty fun. It's kind of zany, kind of silly, kind of light. It's about a girl who becomes obsessed with (duh) Treasure Island and reevaluates her entire life based on its principles—which she distills to "boldness," "resolution," "independence," and "horn-blowing," so that should give you an idea of the book's flippant, somewhat sarcastic tone.
It's a great idea, and it's pretty fun to read, with sometimes really shocking moments of fantastic language or great musings. But the big problem is that the main character is just a HUGE dick. She's a dick to her boyfriend, she's a dick to her boss, she's a massive dick to her sister and her parents and her best friend. She's mind-blowingly self-centered and narcissistic and conniving and cruel.
I guess you could call this success on the part of the author, because she created an awful character and then made her awfulness extremely consistent and more or less believable. But it's a fail for the reader (assuming that reader is me) because I kind of hate people who are dicks, so it was kind of hard to get excited about going on a journey with this absurdly dick-ish character.
So I dunno. A+ for effort, and I'm not sorry I read it or anything, but I can't really say I loved it....more
I read Nicholas Christopher's Veronica several years ago, and I remember it being dizzying and dazzling—and ultimately a bit unfulfilling. And so withI read Nicholas Christopher's Veronica several years ago, and I remember it being dizzying and dazzling—and ultimately a bit unfulfilling. And so with this one. It was engaging, with two interwoven plotlines moving toward each other, and it did have interesting characters, dialogue, etc., but ultimately it was kind of unsatisfying.
Here's a quick synopsis that isn't spoilery: The first plot is in the past—it's the sort of untold history of the man who influenced all modern jazz, I guess. I have no idea if that guy is real or not; certainly there are a lot of real people discussed in his story, but I was too lazy to Wikipedia it. The second story is modern: a woman whose husband just left her for his secretary, and whose mother just passed away, goes on a semi-manic road trip with her daughter to deliver a talk at an anesthesiologist conference.
I had two main problems with the book. First, it's incredibly difficult to write convincingly or satisfyingly about music. No matter how eloquently you describe a song I've never heard, chances aren't good I'll be able to hear it in my head, or even have a clue what it vaguely sounds like. And second, the jazz plot dra-a-a-a-a-agged. I'm not a dutiful student of history, and it's clear that Christopher really nerds out on this stuff, but the barrage of names and places and very short descriptions of each just never sunk into my brain, so that when this or that person or club recurred, many chapters later, I was lost as to its significance. I think he just tried to cram in more than the book could bear—or at least more than I could bear. If you're more of a lover of music history than I, perhaps you'd think differently.
Anyway, at the very end the book really redeemed itself for me, tying everything up quite well, in an unpredictably and not at all corny way. So that was great.
I wish it came with a CD (or MP3 download key or something) of the music, though....more
Felt like it was time for some nonfiction, something I could sink my teeth into a little. Plus I am such a sucker for old-timey NYC. Oh and what a perFelt like it was time for some nonfiction, something I could sink my teeth into a little. Plus I am such a sucker for old-timey NYC. Oh and what a perfect Valentine's Day read, right?
Well... I don't know, this is lively and full of detail and very personable, but I just couldn't get into it. I'm sure I'll pick it up again one of these days, but moving on for now....more
Well this was just riveting. A lush, pell-mell rush of a book filled with exquisite language that just tugs and tugs you forth. The kind of book you iWell this was just riveting. A lush, pell-mell rush of a book filled with exquisite language that just tugs and tugs you forth. The kind of book you invent excuses to read—just one more cigarette, just twenty more minutes abed before turning off the light, taking the local train instead of the express for more uninterrupted reading time. I almost want to read it again right away, just to fill in all the gaps more clearly.
I admit I am very surprised to have been so captivated and enamored. I read The Effects of Living Backwards a year or so ago, and was defeated by its twists and feints and overwrittenness. I found Heidi ultimately too smart for her own good, the book too ambitious, or perhaps myself too casual of a reader to really catch all the subtleties and put all the pieces together.
And yet. Heidi is the editor of The Believer, and I got this book in a proof for $2, and I am largely happy to trust my reading choices to the whims of fate—what I find on the street, what I score for cheap at a used book shop. And so here we are.
The Vanishers is in some ways a scaled-back version of Living Backwards. It is definitely twisty, constantly circling back on itself, and filled with quick reveals that you miss if you're an uncareful reader (which I am). But it's much more manageable, with a smallish cast of sharply memorable characters, and the pacing is more or less perfect—just enough time spent on atmospherics vs dialogue vs philosophizing vs plot.
It's hard to talk more clearly about it without spoilering, but this is a story about psychics (the academic kind, not the cliché kind who read palms on a street corner for five bucks). It's a story about dead mothers and toxic friends and feminism and suicide and porn art films. It takes place in many places: calm rural New England, fast frantic NYC, recovery sanitarium spas in Sweeden. It's about astral projections and psychic wolves, but also about clawed necklaces and sinkholes and paparazzi and betrayals and menacing Barcelona chairs. It's filled with gaspably perfect descriptions tossed off with a casualness that's difficult to believe. It's just absolutely stunning....more
From a review by Word Bookstore: Smith's masterful fiction is not widely known in the U.S., but it should be. Her latest is a nonfiction rumination onFrom a review by Word Bookstore: Smith's masterful fiction is not widely known in the U.S., but it should be. Her latest is a nonfiction rumination on the power and importance of art and storytelling. Creative nonfiction at its finest, this one reminds me of one of my other favorite British literary stylists, Jeanette Winterson. ...more