Archives de catégorie : Narrative Nonfiction

THE GRIEF CURE de Cody Delistraty

A modern tour of grief and grieving, braiding together the author’s experience with his own grief, the sociocultural history of grieving rites and beliefs, and the modern therapies and industry being built around grieving today.

The High-Stakes Business of Making Tragedy Disappear
by Cody Delistraty
Ecco Press, September 2023
(via DeFiore and Co.)

When we actually talk about it, it’s mostly behind closed doors: in therapist’s offices, in support groups, or with close friends and family, if they’re willing to listen. There are few human experiences as hugely universal, and yet as intensely private, as grief. A wave of public sympathy is offered when tragedy occurs, but then we’re expected to work through our feelings on our own, with the goal of returning to normal life as soon as possible.
This was writer and critic Cody Delistraty’s expectation after his mother died of cancer. Except he found himself struggling with how little of a roadmap there was for his grief—or the way that it derailed his life, defying commonly-held notions of what normal mourning might look and feel like. He began to ask himself: was it possible that he was grieving wrong? Did other people actually feel like this? That dissonance sparked the beginning of an obsession: to understand how we handle tragedy and grief today, and how his own feelings measured up.
What he found, through both reporting and academic study, is that our modern conception of grief is different than it’s been through much of history. Since about the Second World War, Americans have largely believed they should grieve alone and get over it. This attitude is relatively new—historically, grief has had a commonly accepted place in public life—but our highly individual, productivity-obsessed culture has transformed grief into a solitary experience, and one we think of as a form of virtuous work.
THE GRIEF CURE takes the reader through our contemporary understanding of grieving—and how so many of our foundational notions, like the five stages of grief, deeply miss the mark. The book then moves through the big business that has emerged to capitalize on this private and commodified form of mourning: the Silicon Valley companies developing a technological cure to grief, grifters selling quick solutions, the consultants treating tragedy as a productivity drag. Drawing deeply on a cultural and social history of grief and tragedy, as well as those on the forefront of developing new communal approaches to mourning, the book finally looks towards what more functional responses to grief might look like moving forward.

Cody Delistraty is the culture editor at The Wall Street Journal Magazine. He has written essays and criticism for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic and, while living in Paris for several years, he was the European arts columnist for The Paris Review. He has degrees in politics from New York University and history from the University of Oxford. British Vogue named him a best young writer of the year; and he has given corporate talks about tragedy, art, and creativity to companies like PwC.

MAKE ME FEEL SOMETHING de Jennifer Schaffer-Goddard

Weaving together cultural criticism, personal narrative, historical diversions, and on-the-ground research, MAKE ME FEEL SOMETHING is a search for pure, loud, vibrant sensory experience and the knowledge that can only come from that source.

In Pursuit of Sensuous Life in the Digital Age
by Jennifer Schaffer-Goddard
Ecco/HarperCollins, Summer 2024
(via Sterling Lord Literistic)

As physical life on earth grows increasingly fraught and imperiled, technology moves to take us out of our bodies and into our screens. Capital is flooding into the development of the metaverse, designed to engulf us even more fully in tech’s trackable, commodifiable sphere.
And as the influence of these newly manufactured modes of experience promises to grow more fixed and invasive, it is not hyperbole to suggest that the years ahead will require us to reckon with questions that, at first glance, may seem surreal: What is the
point of physical life? What are our bodies for?
Although we are saturated by an overload of stimuli, we engage with our actual physical senses—touch, taste, sight, scent, and sound—less and less. It’s no surprise we face an epidemic of depression and disassociation; no wonder that, in an era that demands engagement, we often find ourselves numb, forgetful, and detached. We need an urgent and necessary alternative: a return to the vital purpose and pleasure of our embodied senses.
This is precisely the mission of
MAKE ME FEEL SOMETHING, a multi-hyphenate work of narrative non-fiction offering a radical reappraisal of the five senses in our break-neck technological world, as well as our sense of time, place, and of self.
With the improbably intermingled properties of Jenny Odell’s
How to Do Nothing, Samin Nosrat’s Salt Fat Acid Heat, and John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, MAKE ME FEEL SOMETHING is a personalized, thematically anchored quest narrative that proposes a defiant way forward for sensory life.

Jennifer Schaffer-Goddard was born in Chicago in 1992, the year Apple declared handheld devices would change the world. A 2021 finalist for the Krause Essay Prize, her work has appeared in The Nation, The Baffler, The Paris Review Daily, Vulture, The Times Literary Supplement, The Idler, The White Review, The New Statesman, and elsewhere in print and online. Her research on the societal impacts of artificial intelligence has received recognition and funding from the Royal Society, the Centre for the Future of Intelligence, and the Partnership on Artificial Intelligence in Cambridge and Oxford. A graduate of Stanford and the University of Cambridge, she has, for better or worse, spent several years working in the tech industry.

THE WINTER ROAD de Kate Holden

On a country road in Croppa Creek, farmer Ian Turnbull faced environmental officer Glen Turner. What happened next shocked Australia. An epic true story of greed, power and a desire for legacy from an acclaimed Australian storyteller.

A Story of Legacy, Land and a Killing at Croppa Creek
by Kate Holden
Black Inc. (Australia), May 2021

July 2014, a lonely road at twilight outside Croppa Creek, New South Wales: 80-year-old farmer Ian Turnbull takes out a .22 and shoots environmental officer Glen Turner in the back. On one side, a farmer hoping to secure his family’s wealth on the richest agricultural soil in the country. On the other, his obsession: the government man trying to apply environmental laws. The brutal killing of Glen Turner splits open the story of our place on this land. Is our time on this soil a tale of tragedy or triumph – are we reaping what we’ve sown? Do we owe protection to the land, or does it owe us a living? And what happens when, in pursuit of a legacy, a man creates terrible consequences? Kate Holden brings her discerning eye to a gripping tale of law, land and inheritance. It is the story of Australia.

Kate Holden is the author of two acclaimed memoirs, In My Skin and The Romantic, and a regular contributor to The Saturday Paper, The Monthly and The Age.

BEHOLD THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE de Jennifer Ashley Wright

BEHOLD THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE is a little bit You Never Forget Your First, a little bit The Knick, a dash of The Age of Innocence, and a sprinkle of The Shawshank Redemption.

by Jennifer Ashley Wright
Hachette Books, Spring 2023

This sharp, witty Gilded Age medical history stars Madame Restell, a glamorous women’s healthcare provider in Manhattan, who was a celebrity in her era and a Moira Rose-esque figure with a flair for high fashion and petty public beefs. The story of Restell’s struggle to care for New York’s unmarried women—providing abortions, birth control, and other assistance—in defiance of increasing persecution from powerful men, it ends not in outright tragedy, but with a glorious, life-affirming, bittersweet twist. That this book doubles as a history of women’s health—and the propaganda on which the “pro-life” movement was founded—makes it not just entertaining, but profoundly comforting for feminist readers. Few and far between are the books expanding our sense of hope, humor, and what’s possible for women’s rights in this politicized arena, one which augurs some real downer developments in the coming years. BEHOLD THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE does just that, and it does so in a sumptuous, character-driven, frequently funny package.

Jennifer Ashley Wright has written beloved pop history collections from It Ended Badly and Get Well Soon (Holt) to the forthcoming She Kills Me, an illustrated field guide to righteous women who have committed murder (Abrams Image). BEHOLD THE TRIUMPH OF VIRTUE is Wright’s first work of single narrative history.


In THE SEARCH FOR THE GENUINE, a collection of new and previously published essays, the giant of letters muses on everything from grouse hunting to Zen Buddhism and matters of the spirit…

by Jim Harrison
Grove Press, November 2021

New York Times bestselling author Jim Harrison (1937-2016) was a writer with a poet’s economy of style and trencherman’s appetites and ribald humor. In THE SEARCH FOR THE GENUINE, a collection of new and previously published essays, the giant of letters muses on everything from grouse hunting to Zen Buddhism and matters of the spirit, including reported pieces on Yellowstone and shark-tagging in the open ocean, commentary on writers from Bukowski to Neruda to Peter Matthiessen, and a heartbreaking essay on life—and, for those attempting to cross in the ever-more-dangerous gaps, death—on the US/Mexico border. Written with Harrison’s trademark humor, compassion, and full-throated zest for life, this chronicle of a modern bon vivant is a feast for fans who may think they know Harrison’s nonfiction, from a true “American original” (San Francisco Chronicle).

One of the most interesting and entertaining bodies of work by any writer of his generation.”—Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune

Jim Harrison (1937-2016) was the author of thirty-nine other works of poetry, nonfiction, and fiction, including Legends of the Fall, The Road Home, Returning to Earth, and The English Major. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship, he had work published in twenty-seven languages.