Different Women Have Different Narratives

A Book List and Giveaway

Different Women Have Different Narratives

I planned to have a reported tech piece come out today. But I've spiked a fever while I've been recovering from Monday's surgery. (I'm on antibiotics, so all should be fine.) I am afraid I'm going to need to sleep the rest of the day, which is not ideal for promoting a reported piece!

So I've moved my publishing around a bit. You're getting Sunday's newsletter today and you'll get the newsletter originally planned for today on Sunday. Which is kind of great. Because it means I get to give one of you a gift earlier than I'd intended!

Are you a Pocket Observatory Member? One of the perks of supporting my work is that I gift you stuff I like! Do you want me to send you three Different Women, Different Narratives books for free? Head over here and fill out the form. I'll randomly choose one member to receive three boooks of their choice! Enter your info by Sunday, March 17, 10 pm PST!

I grew up believing there was only one true Woman Story. A woman who lived up to this narrative could save her children and her people, economically and eternally. The details changed from era to era, woman to woman. But the beats remained the same:

A girl was born. She grew into a woman. She was patient, kind, clear-eyed, caring and calm. The woman became a wife and mother. She supported her husband and raised their children. She belonged in the home. When she had to exist outside of the home, economically or socially, she did so reluctantly but valiantly, like a man called to war. She longed to be in the home, always. And she was as known for her longing for home as her making of home.

My job was to live up to and defend this narrative. I never felt I lived up to it, but for a long time, I hoped I would. Until, one day, I found the narrative indefensible.

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I grew up in a church led by a prophet
If I followed him, my family would stay together forever

Mormon Cowboys, Drew Barrymore and Trans Joy
Joy requires neither ease nor permission

Vultures, Motherhood and the Dead (Year)
Vultures taught me what to do with the dead.

Even when this story fell apart, I still believed economic and eternal salvation depended on my ability to live up to a true Doctrine of Women. I just needed to find the real true woman story.

I looked for it in the creases of historical documents, the ink splatters around feminist writing, and the corners of my own home. Instead of one true story, I found thousands of true stories.

There is no one true story. Different women have different narratives! I know this seems obvious to many of you. But for me, it was like discovering a quantum realm. Everything became possible.

When someone tries to collapse that wave of possibility into a narrative that fits into a single point, they aren't trying to tell you the truth. They're trying to maintain power. They think it's easier to control a single particle than a wave. (Joke's on them! String theory suggests particles are pretty difficult to nail down too.)

A recent obvious example of this is Katie Britt's depiction of women in her State of the Union response.

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We should take Katie Britt seriously
She's weaponizing the kitchen table because she understands its power. Which is more than I can say for many of the Democrats.

I thought about the way power tries to exploit single-source narratives as I read some of the reaction to Lyz Lenz's new book, This American Ex-Wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life. Raised in a conservative tradition, Lenz was taught there was only one acceptable Woman Story. The narrative required marriage.

In This American Ex-Wife, Lenz upturns the traditional gender narrative and embraces another - she says that gender politics and power in our country make divorce a better outcome than continued marriage for many women. I think she's right.

Some reviewers responded to Lenz's book by defending marriage instead of engaging with Lenz's story. It seemed to make them uncomfortable that Lenz's narrative deviated from their accepted Woman Story.

Kirkus Reviews approached Lenz's book on its own terms,

Journalist Lenz, author of God Land and Belabored, celebrates freedom, independence, and love in an irreverent memoir about her deeply unsatisfying marriage and eventual divorce. Drawing on interviews with women, newspaper and magazine reports, and academic studies, the author portrays marriage as “a political and cultural and romantic institution that asks too much of wives and mothers and gives too little in return...At what point is the misery worth it?” she asked herself. To women who worry that being a single parent is harder than having a husband, Lenz attests that divorce freed her to find help from a supportive community, have better sex, and achieve happiness for herself and her children. Far from being a sign of failure, divorce, she argues persuasively, can be a source of liberation. A well-researched, acerbic critique of a sacred institution.

This American Ex-Wife is a rousing read that lives up to its title. Lenz ends her marriage and starts her life! What a joyful development! Lenz argues that divorce can liberate, marriage is not necessary for happiness and that gender role narratives can change. Yes, yes and yes.

I've never met Lenz in real life, but by the end of the book she'd become a friend. I cheered for her as she lit her wedding dress - and all it symbolized - on fire. So much germinates in ash, you know?

Of course, Lenz and I are different women. And so her narrative is different than mine. We have had different experiences. We have different ideas We've reached some different conclusions. But this didn't negate her narrative, it just made it feel more vital.

I've got three daughters. I've tried to raise them to understand that different women have different narratives. And they will be different women than me and each other. But I know that Mother stories can be overpowering. I worry that my daughters will feel that my story must be their story. I am happily married, but I want them to know they can be happily divorced or happily never married. Or happily whatever.

There are many ways I try to counteract the power my story may have over theirs. One way is filling our house with books by different women with different narratives. I tell my kids about the books. I did the same with Lenz's book, we talked about the role marriage plays in our culture, tax code and care economy. But I've found they observe me more than they listen to me. So mostly, I make sure to read the books around them.

I read This American Ex-Wife while I waited to pick my kids up from school. I kept it on the center console as we drove home together. I marked pages as I sat next to them during homework. I left the book on the coffee table when I'd finished it. I hope the memory of its cover image - flames licking at a white wedding dress - gives them courage if they ever need it. (The power of a good book cover!)

So many different women have released so many different stories within the space of a few weeks. I've created a list that contains just a few of them. The women who wrote them are very different from one another. They have different narratives. A bookshelf with all these books on it would feel like a shelf stocked with possibility.

Different Women Have Different Narratives

A Reading List

Each of these books can be purchased in the Pocket Observatory Bookshop. Each purchase supports independent bookstores and this little site. But it is equally delightful to find these books in a bookstore near you or to request them through your library!

You can see the list on my bookshop right here. Or just keep scrolling! Are you Pocket Observatory Member? Head over here to enter the Different Women, Different Narratives giveaway.

This America Ex-Wife: How I Ended My Marriage and Started My Life

by Lyz Lenz

"With This American Ex-Wife Lenz adds to her already impressive canon of cultural criticism. . . . Through a vivid mix of research, reporting, and personal anecdote, [she] reveals the power imbalances inherent to traditional heterosexual marriage, and calls for a radical act of refusal by women who have been too-long defined by their relationships to men."--Literary Hub

"In this brave, brilliant, impeccably researched book, Lyz Lenz offers us a clear solution to the systemic inequalities within the institution of marriage. And it's far more liberating than I ever imagined." --Virginia Sole-Smith, author of Fat Talk

"Passionate, visceral, and honest, Lyz Lenz is an unflinching voice, and this book will stand as a monument within our most pressing issues today in how romantic intimacy and domestic labor intersect."--Morgan Jerkins, author of Caul Baby

"This American Ex-Wife is a lifeline. It is a counter-narrative. It is a beautiful piece of memoir. But most of all: it is a bold and convincing declaration that it doesn't have to be this way. Quite frankly, it should be required pre-marital reading."--Anne Helen Petersen, author of Out of Office

My Side of the River

by Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez

I bought this book for myself a couple of weeks ago. My fifteen year old stole it. She loved it and promised to give it back. Well, eventually. She leant it to her best friend, who is also loving it. So yeah, I am going to have to get myself another copy. (This is all incredibly high praise, obviously.)

"My Side of the River is both fierce and poetic. It brilliantly reframes border writing while embracing nature and familial history. There are moments one sees greatness appear. This is one of those moments." --Luis Alberto Urrea, New York Times bestselling author of Good Night, Irene

Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez reveals her experience as the U.S. born daughter of immigrants and what happened when, at fifteen, her parents were forced back to Mexico in this captivating and tender memoir.
Born to Mexican immigrants south of the Rillito River in Tucson, Arizona, Elizabeth had the world at her fingertips. She was preparing to enter her freshman year of high school as the number one student when suddenly, her own country took away the most important right a child has: the right to have a family.

Lessons for Survival: Mothering Against the Apocalypse

by Emily Raboteau

You can read an excerpt on Sari Botton's newsletter, Memoirland. Do yourself a favor. Read the excerpt!

Award-winning author and critic Emily Raboteau crafts a powerfully moving meditation on race, climate, environmental justice--and what it takes to find shelter. 

Lessons for Survival is a probing series of pilgrimages from the perspective of a mother struggling to raise her children to thrive without coming undone in an era of turbulent intersecting crises. With camera in hand, Raboteau goes in search of birds, fluttering in the air or painted on buildings, and city parks where her children may safely play while avoiding pollution, pandemics, and the police. She ventures abroad to learn from Indigenous peoples, and in her own family and community, she discovers the most intimate examples of resilience.

Raboteau bears witness to the inner life of Black womanhood, motherhood, the brutalities and possibilities of cities, while celebrating the beauty and fragility of nature. This innovative work of reportage and autobiography stitches together multiple stories of protection, offering a profound sense of hope.

How To Be Old: Lessons in Living Boldly from the Accidental Icon

by Lyn Slater

What can I say about Lyn Slater? I adore her. And I pray I get to be old like her. She's a great read. And a great follow on Instagram.

"I have watched Lyn Slater from afar for years. She is the kind of woman I have been drawn to all my life, perhaps the kind of woman I am genetically coded to latch myself unto. She is older and wiser and does not seem to give many fucks about the social obligations of either. In this book she does what I have always wanted a cool older woman to do. She kicks out a chair beside her and casually invites you to soak in her courageous vulnerability. How to be Old is a vision for your life this year, next year, in the older years that popular media has made a blurry blank space for women. Through this compelling narrative of career, identity, and aging you can borrow pieces of Lyn's journey, her vision, and her inspiring closet to assemble a version of womanhood that grows as you grow. That is the promise of this inspiring book. Womanhood does not have to be a cage. It can be a stage. And we can dress for whatever part we would like."--Tressie McMillan Cottom, author of National Book Award Finalist Thick

The Manicurist's Daughter

by Susan Lieu

I know about Susan Lieu because of her critically acclaimed one-woman show, 140 Lbs: How Beauty Killed My Mother. "The performance weaves together several through-lines: the multi-generational immigrant experience; body insecurity and shame; repression and subsequent examination of personal loss; and lack of accountability in the medical system." You can watch it right here. Lieu has a voice I want to hear from again and again. I eagerly am waiting on my copy of her book.

An emotionally raw memoir about the crumbling of the American Dream and a daughter of refugees who searches for answers after her mother dies during plastic surgery. Susan Lieu has long been searching for answers. About her family's past and about her own future. Refugees from the Vietnam War, Susan's family escaped to California in the 1980s after five failed attempts.

Upon arrival, Susan's mother was their savvy, charismatic North Star, setting up two successful nail salons and orchestrating every success--until Susan was eleven. That year, her mother died from a botched tummy tuck. After the funeral, no one was ever allowed to talk about her or what had happened. For the next twenty years, Susan navigated a series of cascading questions alone--why did the most perfect person in her life want to change her body? Why would no one tell her about her mother's life in Vietnam? And how did this surgeon, who preyed on Vietnamese immigrants, go on operating after her mother's death?

Sifting through depositions, tracking down the surgeon's family, and enlisting the help of spirit channelers, Susan uncovers the painful truth of her mother, herself, and the impossible ideal of beauty. The Manicurist's Daughter is much more than a memoir about grief, trauma, and body image. It is a story of fierce determination, strength in shared culture, and finding your place in the world.

Thunder Song

by Sasha taqʷsəblu LaPointe

I have a hard time explaining LaPointe's writing without relying on cliche. (Luckily, LaPointe never relies on cliche.) I want to tell you her writing is electric, that it sings, that it vibrates, that it hums. And it is all those things! But none of those descriptions really capture her work. You'll just have to read it to see what I mean.

"Sasha taqʷsəblu LaPointe gives us glimpses into her life as an Indigenous woman in America in her brilliant new essay collection, Thunder Song. She boldly proclaims her heritage, her queerness, and her punk-ness. I can't wait for people to read this!" --Ashley Kilcullen, The Bookshop, Electric Literature

"It's a provocative and wonderfully crafted collection exploring cultural legacies, colonialism, and finding your own path forward." --Susie Dumond, BookRiot

"Incandescent . . . Thunder Song [is] powerfully animated by the 'spirit songs' of LaPointe's matrilineal line; her writing is both a celebration and continuation of the work of her foremothers, in a Native punk mode all her own . . . By transmitting the healing songs of her great-grandmother through her own creative work in prose and performance, LaPointe offers all readers a chance to acknowledge and be changed by Indigenous voices and values." --Catherine Hollis, BookPage (starred review) 

"Lyrical prose elevates LaPointe's incisive and heartfelt personal reflections. The result is a beautifully rendered snapshot of contemporary American Indigenous life." --Publishers Weekly

"These passionate essays, adamant in their activist pleas, reflect hard-won wisdom, as well as the representative significance of the author's experiences. Probing and poignant reflections on Indigenous America." --Kirkus Reviews

I Heard Her Call My Name: A Memoir of Transition

by Lucy Sante

Waiting on my copy of this book. I am so eager to sit with Lucy Sante's voice. To hear her story. And help others hear it too.

"Reading this book is a joy... much to say about the trans journey and will undoubtedly become a standard for those in need of guidance. " 
-- The Washington Post

"Sante's bold devotion to complexity and clarity makes this an exemplary memoir. It is a clarion call to live one's most authentic life." 
-- The Boston Globe

"Not to be missed, I Heard Her Call My Name is a powerful example of self-reflection and a vibrant exploration of the modern dynamics of gender and identity." -- Lit Hub's Most Anticipated Books of 2024

Sante's memoir braids together two threads of personal narrative: the arc of her life, and her recent step-by-step transition to a place of inner and outer alignment. Sante brings a loving irony to her account of her unsteady first steps; there was much she found she still needed to learn about being a woman after some sixty years cloaked in a man's identity, in a man's world. A marvel of grace and empathy, I Heard Her Call My Name parses with great sensitivity many issues that touch our lives deeply, of gender identity and far beyond.

If You Can't Take The Heat: Tales of Food, Feminism, and Fury

by Geraldine DeRuiter

I am reading this as I recover from surgery. And frankly, DeRuiter's writing is doing more to get me through the pain than any opioid they could prescribe. (Well. I am taking opioids too. But you get the idea.)

"A thoroughly enjoyable writer, DeRuiter can be very funny, whether building increasingly ridiculous scenarios or adeptly capturing various foibles of friends and enemies. She can also be sweet, reassuringly insecure, and candid. . . . She writes with directness and laser-sharp observations as she documents her research, unafraid to name names."--Booklist (starred review)

"Delightfully salty . . . DeRuiter seamlessly blends gallows humor and sharp observation. The result is a witty and empowering volume that will satisfy foodies and non-foodies alike."--Publishers Weekly

"Funny, irreverent . . . DeRuiter brings her sharp wit to a range of subjects, including family, marriage, the end of a treasured friendship, and the meaning of comfort food. A deft, entertaining collection."--Kirkus Reviews

"Hilarious, clever, profound and poignant . . . [Geraldine DeRuiter's] articulations are sincere and nostalgic. . . . Readers will find this witty series of vignettes humorous, comforting, and enlightening."--BookPage, starred review

You Get What You Pay For

by Morgan Parker

I love Morgan Parker's poetry and cannot wait to read her first collection of essays. She is the kind of writer that makes me see words differently.

The award-winning author of Magical Negro traces the difficulty and beauty of existing as a Black woman through American history, from the foundational trauma of the slave trade all the way up to Serena Williams and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

"An engrossing journey through Parker's expansive and gifted mind."--Clint Smith, author of How the Word Is Passed

Dubbed a voice of her generation, poet and writer Morgan Parker has spent much of her adulthood in therapy, trying to square the resonance of her writing with the alienation she feels in nearly every aspect of life, from her lifelong singleness to a battle with depression. She traces this loneliness to an inability to feel truly safe with others and a historic hyperawareness stemming from the effects of slavery. 

In a collection of essays as intimate as being in the room with Parker and her therapist, Parker examines America's cultural history and relationship to Black Americans through the ages. She touches on such topics as the ubiquity of beauty standards that exclude Black women, the implications of Bill Cosby's fall from grace in a culture predicated on acceptance through respectability, and the pitfalls of visibility as seen through the mischaracterizations of Serena Williams as alternately iconic and too ambitious. 

With piercing wit and incisive observations, You Get What You Pay For is ultimately a portal into a deeper examination of racial consciousness and its effects on mental well-being in America today. Weaving unflinching criticism with intimate anecdotes, this devastating memoir-in-essays paints a portrait of one Black woman's psyche--and of the writer's search to both tell the truth and deconstruct it.

Feeding Ghosts: A Graphic Memoir

by Tesssa Hulls

This artful interrogation of three generations of women, what they give and take from one another, just undid me. I think you should be undone by it too.

"A deep, illuminating dive into Chinese history, mental illness, and inherited trauma." --Thi Bui, author of The Best We Could Do

"Detailed, vulnerable, [and] harrowing." --Booklist (starred review)

"From start to finish, this book is a revelation . . . A work that glimmers with insight, acumen, and an unwillingness to settle for simple answers." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Feeding Ghosts swallows you up in swirling eddies of ink. A visual jungle gym with the iconography of David B., the journalistic thoroughness of Joe Sacco (I learned so much), the intellect of Alison Bechdel, and a vulnerable heart completely unique to Tessa Hulls. I loved it." --Craig Thompson, author of Blankets and Habibi 

"With incandescent imagery and prose, Tessa Hulls excavates the incredible, sweeping story of her matrilineal lineage, wrestling with the ways in which her family's ghosts, experiences with mental illness, and loneliness reverberate across generations. A striking, gorgeous memoir from a spectacular talent, Feeding Ghosts will linger with readers for years to come." --Kat Chow, author of Seeing Ghosts

Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story

by Leslie Jamison

Jamison's writing is so abundant. I just can't recommend this enough.

"An astounding achievement. This is a memoir of emotional depth that reminds us that love, in its fullness, is as much a construction of jagged and flinty edges as an ideal of cloudless skies. In Splinters, Leslie Jamison is unstinting in her assessment of marriage gained and lost, of motherhood held close, and of loving oneself in the process, all conveyed with her unsparing and attentive eye."--Esmé Weijun Wang, New York Times bestselling author of The Collected Schizophrenias

"Splinters is as sharp and piercing as its title--a brilliant reckoning with what it means to make art, a self, a family, a life. If I were offered one guide as a writer, as a mother, as a teacher, as a human being constantly reinventing herself out of necessity, I'd want that guide to be Leslie Jamison. This memoir is a masterclass." 
--Maggie Smith, New York Times bestselling author of You Could Make This Place Beautiful

"Leslie Jamison's memoir, Splinters, is a stairway behind the eyes of a woman in the midst of transformation, written so brilliantly, and with such a skilled hand, that readers are likely to find themselves peacefully lost even in its darker moments. These pages are so magnetizing that I wanted to race along, but forced myself to slow down enough to savor the language. No one should be this good at writing. This gorgeous book will blow you away."--Ashley C. Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Somebody's Daughter

Mother Island: A Daughter Reclaims Puerto Rico

by Jamie Figueroa

Jamie Fiegueroa is such an expansive writer. Mother Island is released next week. I've preordered and suggest you do too! Preorders are so important for authors.

"A lushly written, deeply felt investigation into the meanings of home, lineage and selfhood--Figueroa thoughtfully examines the contours of what is given to us, & what can be chosen." 
--Melissa Febos, bestselling author of Body Work and Girlhood

"A memoir of re-assemblage in which fragments of the author's memories from childhood to the present are collaged to create a receptacle in which Figueroa can recollect, recognize and claim what it means to be Boricua. Figueroa's text is both lamentation and reclamation. Upon reaching its final pages, one can only imagine her ancestors standing proud, returning with solemn grace the beauty of her collective acknowledgement."
--Myriam J. A. Chancy, author of What Storm, What Thunder and Harvesting Haiti

"Mother Island rings with deep vulnerability and compassion. A beautiful poetic book."
--Tiphanie Yanique, Center for Fiction First Novel Prizewinning author of Love and Drowning

"A compelling memoir that explores the complexities of identity, heritage, and connection to Puerto Rico....Figueroa's prose weaves together themes of belonging and self-discovery, creating a narrative that resonates with anyone seeking to understand the intricate ties between personal identity and cultural heritage."
--Hispanic Executive

"Figueroa enchantingly shifts and sifts through her memories...her exceptional command of her craft builds narrative tension while granting force to the way her personal history mirrors geopolitical devastation and imbuing her voice with the power of one no longer unclaimed by, but ready to lay claim to. A searching and lyrical memoir packed with nuance and depth."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Dispersals: On Plants, Borders, and Belonging

by Jessica J. Lee

I adored Lee's Two Trees Make a Forest. I can't wait for her new book to get to my house. I expected it today! But a snowstorm has slowed deliveries. I keep looking outside, hoping I'll see it sitting on my porch.

"Weaving material from literary, personal, scientific and historical sources, Lee examines plants--including seaweed and far beyond it--that broach human borders, exploring their migrations alongside her own . . . Lee writes intimately about her own oscillating cravings for movement and rootedness against a backdrop of COVID and new motherhood . . . Dispersals asks readers to consider how plants challenge not only spatial borders but taxonomic ones." --Erica Berry, Scientific American

"Lee evokes a centuries-long history of border crossings--by people and by plants--to throw into question what it means to really belong, love, and protect, and what our collective future might hold on a planet forever evolving in the wake of trans-continental migration." --Amy Brady, Literary Hub

"Lee does a masterful job of blending personal reflection with natural and political history, and her prose is crystalline . . . This deserves a wide audience." --Publishers Weekly (starred review) 

Whiskey Tender

by Deborah Jackson Taffa

This book nourished me. It challenged me. It continues to echo inside of me.

"We have more Native stories now, but we have not heard one like this. Whiskey Tender is unexpected and propulsive, indeed tender, but also bold, and beautifully told, like a drink you didn't know you were thirsty for. This book, never anything less than mesmerizing, is full of family stories and vital Native history. It pulses and it aches, and it lifts, consistently. It threads together so much truth by the time we are done, what has been woven together equals a kind of completeness from brokenness, and a hope from knowing love and loss and love again by naming it so." – Tommy Orange, National Bestselling Author of There There

Reminiscent of the works of Mary Karr and Terese Marie Mailhot, a memoir of family and survival, coming-of-age on and off the reservation, and of the frictions between mainstream American culture and Native inheritance; assimilation and reverence for tradition.

American Negra

by Natasha S Alford

A frank, full-hearted meditation on belonging and identity. I am still thinking about it.

Award-winning journalist Natasha S. Alford grew up between two worlds as the daughter of an African American father and Puerto Rican mother. In American Negra, a narrative that is part memoir, part cultural analysis, Alford reflects on growing up in a working-class family from the city of Syracuse, NY.

In smart, vivid prose, Alford illustrates the complexity of being multiethnic in Upstate New York and society's flawed teachings about matters of identity. When she travels to Puerto Rico for the first time, she is the darkest in her family, and navigates shame for not speaking Spanish fluently. She visits African-American hair salons where she's told that she has "good" hair, while internalizing images that as a Latina she has "bad" hair or pelo malo.

When Alford goes from an underfunded public school system to Harvard University surrounded by privilege and pedigree, she wrestles with more than her own ethnic identity, as she is faced with imposter syndrome, a shocking medical diagnosis, and a struggle to define success on her own terms. A study abroad trip to the Dominican Republic changes her perspective on Afro-Latinidad and sets her on a path to better understand her own Latin roots.

Alford then embarks on a whirlwind journey to find her authentic voice, taking her across the United States from a hedge fund boardroom to a classroom and ultimately a newsroom, as a journalist. 

A coming-of-age story about what it's like to live at the intersections of race, culture, gender, and class, all while staying true to yourself, American Negra is a captivating look at one woman's experience being Negra in the United States. 

As the movement to highlight Afro-Latin identity and overlooked histories of the African diaspora grows, American Negra illustrates the diversity of the Black experience in the larger fabric of American society.

A Map of Future Ruins: On Borders and Belonging

by Lauren Markham

The kind of story that leaves you with more questions than answers. (I love that kind of story.)

"An expansive meditation on the roles of myth and politics in the stories we construct about our origins." --New York Times

"A feat of reconstructive reportage, poetically written."--The Atlantic

"A remarkable, unnerving, and cautionary portrait of a global immigration crisis." --Kirkus Reviews (starred)

"Blends memoir, history, and reportage in a wide-ranging and unflinching account. . . . Into this heart-wrenching drama. . . . Markham interweaves ruminations on Greece's twin crises of immigration and emigration. . . . Interspersed throughout are powerful ruminations on ancient Greece as the birthplace of classical Western ideals and the myth-making process inherent to all migration stories. Readers will be thoroughly engrossed." --Publishers Weekly (starred)

The Moon That Turns You Back

by Hala Alyan

I think about Alyan's poem, Spoiler, at least once a week. I am eagerly awaiting her latest book of poems.

"[Hala] Alyan's fifth book of poetry grapples heroically with the fissures of family and lineage caused by displacement and migration." – Booklist (starred review)

"The formally inventive and devastatingly evocative latest from Alyan (The Twenty-Ninth Year) reckons with grief, displacement, and enduring kinship. From Beirut to the U.S. to Jerusalem to Kuwait, Alyan draws from her experience as a Palestinian American to examine where one's home is under occupation and forced displacement....These powerful poems linger long in the mind." -- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Hala Alyan offers us a magnificent reckoning and witnessing. These poems are a dazzling achievement, singing of a body/bodies tethered to tenderness and hope, even in the face of landscapes that don't always offer '...good and patient soil.'" -- Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of World of Wonders