Recommended Reading 003

Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud by Anne Helen Petersen

“While there are notable differences in the complexity, nuance, allusion, artistic innovation and experimentation found in mass, mid, and high culture, the argument that one is intrinsically more valuable that the others is, of course, fundamentally elitist. It’s not accident that this sort of cultural work…is often the pet project of men, generally with vested interests in maintaining hierarchies calibrated to their particular and exclusive definitions, which delegitimize culture that provides pleasure and meaning to audiences largely composed of women. If we authenticate and declare our worth and class in no small part through the objects we consume, then labeling the objects consumed by women as ‘less than’ effectively delegitimizes and devalues women’s place in the world.”

 

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul

“Shopping reveals the id in all of us. At blowout sales, I am ready to cold-cock other women also trying on size 10 work-appropriate cocktail dresses that hide their shame (upper arms) while promoting their glory (elegant pinkies and/or pillow-butt). In the changing room, attempting to shove your misshapen body into the size you think you should be rather than the size you are usually leads to some form of weeping while screaming, ‘IT’S FINE, I’LL JUST WEAR A BAG OF FLOUR AROUND MY BODY UNTIL I DEHYDRATE ENTIRELY AND CAN DIE IN PEACE.’ Opening your closet to find that you hate every item of clothing you have ever bought is a specific circle of hell: hanger after hanger of poly-cotton blend T-shirts, all with thick layers of deodorant crusted on the armpits, every skirt ironed so poorly it’s on the verge of unravelling if you swivel too fast in it, your shoes just leather hunks you force your bunions into.”

 

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

“I began to feel afraid, occupying someone so accomplished. And yet, I was comfortable in there. And suddenly, wanted him to know me. My life. To know us. Our lot. I don’t know why I felt that way but I did. He had no aversion to me, is how I might put it. Or rather, he had once had such an aversion, still bore traces of it, but, in examining that aversion, pushing it into the light, had somewhat, already, eroded it. He was an open book. An opening book. That had just been opened up somewhat wider. By sorrow. And–by us. By all of us, black and white, who had so recently mass-inhabited him. He had not, it seemed, gone unaffected by that event. Not at all. It had made him sad. Sadder. We had. All of us, white and black, had made him sadder, with our sadness. And now, though it sounds strange to say, he was making me sadder with his sadness, and I thought, Well, sir, if we are going to make a sadness party of it, I have some sadness about which I think someone as powerful as you might like to know. And I thought, then, as hard as I could, of Mrs. Hodge, and Elson, and Litzie, and of all I had heard during our long occupancy in that pit regarding their many troubles and degradations, and called to mind, as well, several others of our race I had known and loved…and all the things that they had endured, thinking, Sir, if you are as powerful as I feel that you are, and as inclined toward us as you seem to be, endeavor to do something for us, so that we might do something for ourselves. We are ready sir; are angry, are capable, our hopes are coiled up so tight as to be deadly, or holy: turn us loose, sir, let us at it, let us show what we can do.”

 

The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

“I wanted what she had wanted, what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can’t have it all.”

“You have an affair because you are not getting what you want from your loved one. You want more: more love, more sex, more attention, more fun. You want someone to look at you with lust–after years of laundry–transforming you into something radiant. You want it, you need it, you owe it to yourself to get it. To live any other way is to be muffled and gray and marching meaninglessly toward death. You want what she gave you at the start (but what you had hoped would expand and intensify instead of shrinking until you find yourself so sad, so resentful, you can barely stand to be you).
You have an affair to get for yourself what you wish would come from the person you love the most. And then you have broken her heart and she can never give you any of it ever again.”

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How Should a Person Be: a Quote

heti-sheila-how-should-a-person-be

This weekend I raced through Sheila Heti’s book How Should a Person Be? This passage really struck home for me, and will serve as a daily challenge to the ever-present thought that I have to find my “one thing”, my one passion, and I’ll “never have to work a day in my life.”

“You remember the puer aeternus–the eternal child–Peter Pan–the boy who never grows up, who never becomes a man? Or it’s like in The Little Prince–when the prince asks the narrator to draw him a sheep. The narrator tries and tries again, but each time he fails to do it as well as he wishes. He believes himself to be a great artist and cannot understand why it’s not working. In a fit of frustration, he instead draws a box–something he can do well. When the prince asks how it’s a picture of a sheep, the narrator replies that it’s a picture of a sheep in a box. He is arrogantly proud of his solution and satisfied with his efforts. This response is typical of all peurs. Such people will suddenly tell you they have another plan, and they always do it the moment things start getting difficult. But it’s their everlasting switching that’s the dangerous thing, not what they choose.

Why is their everlasting switching dangerous?

Because people who live their lives this way can look forward to a single destiny, shared with others of this type–though such people do not believe they represent a type, but feel themselves distinguished from the common run of man, who they see as held down by the banal anchors of the world. But while others actually build a life in which things gain in meaning and significance, this is not true of the puer. Such a person inevitability looks back on life as it nears its end with a feeling of emptiness and sadness, aware of what they have built: nothing. In their quest for a life without failure, suffering, or doubt, that is what they achieve: a life empty of all those things that make a human life meaningful. And yet they started off believing themselves too special for this world!

But–and here is the hope–there is a solution for people of this type, and it’s perhaps not the solution that could have been predicted. The answer for them is to build on what they have begun and not abandon their plans as soon as things start getting difficult. They must work–without escaping into fantasies about being the person who worked. And I don’t mean work for its own sake, but they must choose work that begins and ends in a passion, a question that is gnawing at their guts, which is not to be avoided but must be realized and lived through the hard work and suffering that inevitably comes with the process.

They must reinforce and build on what is in their life already rather than always starting anew, hoping to find a situation without danger. Puers don’t need to check themselves into analysis. If that just remember this–It is their everlasting switching that is the dangerous thing, not what they choose–they might discover themselves saved. The problem is the puer ever anticipates loss, disappointment, and suffering–which they foresee at the end of every experience, so they cut themselves off at the beginning, retreating almost at once in order to protect themselves. In this way, they never give themselves to life–living in constant dread of the end. Reason, in this case, has taken too much from life.

They must give themselves completely to the experience! One thinks sometimes how much more alive such people would be if they suffered! If they can’t be happy, let them at least be unhappy–really, really unhappy for once, and then they might become truly human.”

A Meaningful Weekend

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This past weekend was sorely needed. The month of May has been packed full of events, both personal and work-related, and Michael and I were both looking forward to three days off. Michael did some writing for a class he’s auditing, and I read two books (this one, lent to me by a friend, and this one).  We’ve also been giving ourselves a movie history lesson, and have been watching a bunch of classic, well-loved films; Howl’s Moving Castle and Casablanca were this week’s hits. We’ve also really been enjoying watching the PBS show “The Mind of a Chef.” It’s super fascinating and inspiring to see the process behind that kind of creativity, and I love hearing about how certain foods like miso or ramen have such a rich, deep history behind them. I even roped Michael into watching the episodes on Southern food, and he loved them. I’d highly recommend it!

 

It felt so good to have no plans, no commitments, and no requirements this weekend. I’ve started this week feeling rested and inspired. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt either of those things! My mind was finally given space to dream for myself, and being given that space, I realize just how much I was missing it. I’d really like to be more intentional about where I put my time and energy- towards rest, meaningful hobbies, and people who matter most in my life. I’m already looking forward to it.

i thank You God for most this amazing day

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(photo by Devin Pedde)

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings

What I learned from Lena

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Have you read Lena Dunham’s new book?

If you’ve seen her amazing show Girls, then the content of this book will be quite familiar. There’s an essay about working in an overpriced children’s store, there’s a mention of popping her own eardrum out of anxiety, and there is line after line where you could just swear that you were hearing Hannah Horvath.

Of course, one should expect this- it’s not a secret that Hannah’s character is not-so-loosely based on Lena’s own life and experiences, and this book is proof. And while overall I came away enjoying the book as an escape, and as the words of a woman whose work and ambition I so admire, there was something that left me feeling unsettled.

I wasn’t unsettled by the garish retellings of her most horrific stories, although I could see how some would be. I think I was unsettled because I had heard this all before. I love Girls because while the story it tells is relatable, the characters are so wildly exaggerated, and you laugh because thank God your friends aren’t that crazy. But in reading the book, it became clear the characters are barely exaggerated, and the stories she are sharing in the pages of her book are ones I’ve all heard before.

This isn’t to say that there wasn’t some kind of wisdom being passed down, because there definitely is. She articulates beautifully why she loves being a woman. She defends the desire and necessity of sharing one’s story. And she wants girls to stop spending their time being made to feel bad about themselves by horrible men (both relationally and professionally). She is eloquent, and startling in the truths she shares. But I came away wishing I had seen more of writer-Lena, or director-Lena, or amazingly successful comedienne-Lena. But mostly what I saw was this now strangely confusing hybrid of Lena and the character she plays on TV, and frankly, I would never take Hannah’s advice, even if she is genuinely good-willed about it. I wanted to see a separation of Lena from her work. What I saw was that Girls is the real memoir, and this book is just a fun bonus-feature.

For me, I’m going to continue watching Girls, and I’m going to walk away from the book taking a few beautiful quotes with me, which I will leave for you to take as well:

“When someone shows you how little you mean to them and you keep coming back for more, before you know it you start to mean less to yourself. You are not made up of compartments! You are one whole person! What gets said to you gets said to all of you, ditto what gets done. Being treated like shit is not an amusing game or a transgressive intellectual experiment. It’s something you accept, condone, and learn to believe you deserve. This is so simple. But I tried so hard to make it complicated.”

“Respect isn’t something you command through intimidation and intellectual bullying. It’s something you build through a long life of treating people how you want to be treated and focusing on your mission.”

“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman. As hard as we have worked and as far as we have come, there are still so many forces conspiring to tell women that our concerns are petty, our opinions aren’t needed, that we lack the gravitas necessary for our stories to matter…But I want to tell my stories and, more than that, I have to in order to stay sane.”

“I consider being female such a unique gift, such a sacred joy, in ways that run so deep I can’t articulate them. It’s a special kind of privilege to be born into the body you wanted, to embrace the essence of your gender even as you recognize what you are up against. Even as you seek to redefine it.”

 

So what did you think? Did you read it? Will you?

My Favorite Cookbooks

Let’s talk cookbooks. I am a cookbook lover. All the possibilities that await! All the learning I can do! All the tasty foods to try! I’m a sucker for it. Admittedly, I have my fair share of cookbooks that I got excited about in the store, and then never really used them once they got home. But there are quite a few I pull out on a weekly basis, and these are just a few that I’d like to share with you.

20140805-205924-75564081.jpg   It is not an exaggeration to say that this cookbook changed how I eat. I am not a vegan by any means, but I love every recipe she has put in here, and my body has responded so well to its new levels of protein and vegetables being eaten. Everything Angela does is so well-executed, from the sauces accompanying the dish, to the depth of flavor she can introduce. She even has a recipe for nacho dip! It was that dip that converted me to an Oh She Glows lover. If the idea of vegan dishes is gross or even sacrilegious to you, please try one of her recipes. I am always shocked that something so good for you can also taste so good (and really fill me up!) Most of my recipes these days come from here (I’d say at least 3-4 per week!), and my body is loving me for it.   20140805-205925-75565164.jpg   I’ll admit, I was skeptical about buying a “celebrity” cookbook, but this one has proven its worth time and time again. While she does have a small handful of more complicated dishes, like homemade lobster rolls or paella, the large majority are incredibly simple, with very basic, easy to find ingredients. From delicious pasta recipes, to amazing breakfast muffins, to brisket and chicken milanese (a favorite!), I find myself repeatedly pulling ol’ Gwyn off the shelf to help me whip up something that tastes like I spent hours making it, when it really only took 30 minutes. (My new favorite recipe that we just tried this week is her Vietnamese prawn sandwich [we used shrimp]. I couldn’t believe I could make a banh mi-style sandwich that tasted so good and was that easy! Truly. I could keep raving, but I’ll spare you.) 20140805-205925-75565946.jpg   This is one of my favorites for so many reasons. It’s incredibly photo-saturated, in the best way. Every step has a gorgeous photo showing you exactly how it should look, with extremely clear instructions. The first page of every recipe even shows all the ingredients laid out- it’s beautiful! Not to mention, it’s pretty hard to goof up when it’s spelled out that clear for you. Besides the photos, the book is organized so well, and contains everything from classics like margherita pizza and macaroni and cheese, to yummy things I never would have thought of, like a spicy asian soup. She also has a whole section for “long weekends,” and it’s from here that I devote a lot of time in the winters making soups, stews, roast chicken, and my favorite- coq au vin. I’ve even made chicken wings and loaded potato skins from scratch! So much better than buying those boxes from the freezer aisle (albeit, a bit more time consuming). I highly recommend it, for both seasoned cooks and newbies alike, as it’s an easy one to learn from and get your feet wet.

 

Do you have a favorite place to pull recipes from? I’d love to hear! I’m always looking for more inspiration.

Why the Novel Is Necessary

My husband showed me this poem the other night and I couldn’t get over how perfectly captured it was.

Why the Novel Is Necessary but Sometimes Hard to Read
by Marie Howe, from her book The Kingdom of Ordinary Time

 

It happens in time.  Years passed until the old woman,
one snowy morning, realized she had never loved her daughter . . . 

Or, Five years later she answered the door, and her suitor had returned
almost unrecognizable from his journeys . . .

But before you get to that part you have to learn the names
you have to suffer not knowing anything about anyone

and slowly come to understand who each of them is, or who each of them
imagines him or her self to be–

and then, because you are the reader, you must try to understand who
you think each of them is because of who you believe yourself to be

in relation to their situation

or to your memory of one very much like it.

Oh it happens in time and time is hard to live through.
I can’t read anything anymore, my dying brother said one afternoon,
not even letters. Come on, Come on, he said, waving his hand in the air,
What am I interested in–plot? 

You come upon the person the author put there
as if you’d been pushed into a room and told to watch the dancing–

pushed into pantries, into basements, across moors, into
the great drawing rooms of great cities, into the small cold cabin, or

to here, beside the small running river where a boy is weeping,
and no one comes,

and you have to watch without saying anything he can hear.

One by one the readers come and watch him weeping by the running river,
and he never knows,

unless he too has read the story where a boy feels himself all alone.

This is the life you have written, the novel tells us. What happens next?

 

Recommended Reading | 002

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Wild, Cheryl Strayed

After spiraling into drugs and depression after the death of her mother, Cheryl decides, rather rashly, to hike the Pacific Crest Trail- alone. Despite having zero long-distance hiking experience, Cheryl goes off to find herself amongst the desert, mountains, and solitude, and comes back with a riveting story to share and a stronger sense of purpose and meaning.

“Alone wasn’t a room anymore, but the whole wide world, and now I was alone in that world, occupying it in a way I never had before. Living at large like this, without even a roof over my head, made the world feel both bigger and smaller to me. Until now, I hadn’t truly understood the world’s vastness–hadn’t even understood how vast a mile could be– until each mile was beheld at walking speed. And yet there was also its opposite, the strange intimacy I’d come to have with the trail, the way the piñon pines and monkey flowers I passed that morning, the shallow streams I crossed, felt familiar and known, though I’d never passed them or crossed them before.”

 

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt

Surviving a freak accident that kills his mother, Theo winds up in possession of a priceless painting. As he grows up around the country with no real adults to speak of, the painting takes him deeper into something he’s been hiding from his whole life, where he is forced to confront his fears, his loneliness, and the darker sides of himself before he can come out the other side.

“Was it wrong, wanting to sleep late with the covers over my head and wander around a peaceful house with old seashells in drawers and wicker baskets of folded upholstery fabric stored under the parlor secretary, sunset falling in drastic coral spokes through the fanlight over the front door? Before long, between school and workshop, I had slipped into a sort of forgetful doze, a skewed, dreamlike version of my former life where I walked familiar streets yet lived in unfamiliar circumstances, among different faces; and though often walking to school I thought of my old, lost life with my mother–Canal Street Station, lighted bins of flowers at the Korean market, anything could trigger it–it was as if a black curtain had come down on my life in Vegas.”

 

The Fault In Our Stars, John Green

Two teenagers meet in a cancer support group, and despite their best intentions, fall in love. While this is young adult fiction, the writing is striking, with nuanced characters whose wit and humor are just as sharp as the pain of their reality. You won’t be able to put this down without some tears, but the story is worth every one of them.

“So here’s how it went in God’s heart: The six or seven or ten of us walked/wheeled in, grazed at a decrepit selection of cookies and lemonade, sat down in the Circle of Trust, and listened to Patrick recount for the thousandth time his depressingly miserable life story–how he had cancer in his balls and they thought he was going to die but he didn’t die and how here he is, a full-grown adult in a church basement in the 137th nicest city in America, divorced, addicted to video games, mostly friendless, eking out a meager living by exploiting his cancertastic past, slowly working his way toward a master’s degree that will not improve his career prospects, waiting, as we all do, for the sword of Damocles to give him the relief that he escaped lo those many years ago when cancer took both of his nuts but spared what only the most generous soul would call his life.

AND YOU TOO MIGHT BE SO LUCKY!”

 

The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd

Sarah and her handmaid Hetty (also known as Handful) are tied together, though both wish it were not so. Set in antebellum Charleston, each girl- one white aristocrat, one black slave- are fighting for freedom, and this story follows their lives through the years as they each find their voices and try to break free from the things that enslave them.

“I saw then what I hadn’t seen before, that I was very good at despising slavery in the abstract, in the removed and anonymous masses, but in the concrete, intimate flesh of the girl beside me, I’d lost the ability to be repulsed by it. I’d grown comfortable with the particulars of evil. There’s a frightful muteness that dwells at the center of all unspeakable things, and I had found my way into it.”

Recommended Reading | 001

Mr_Penumbra's_24-Hour_Bookstore  Alice Munro

Heat  On-Beauty-book-cover

 

I wanted to start a series, and it didn’t take me long to come up with the topic. As anyone who knows me, even a little bit, can tell you, I am a major bibliophile. There are only two things I absolutely must do every single day, and one of those is read (the other is eat, and that could really be the subject of another series…). I am always, always reading.
One of my favorite things about reading is the community it brings between people. I love asking and being asked the question, “What are you reading these days?” It’s so much more personal than a bland, “How are you?” and it opens up a whole new side of someone that you might not otherwise get to see. Books are by far the best educators I can think of; they bring playfulness and creativity to a subject, open up imagination, teach history and language, unfold the human condition, and evoke all the emotions you can imagine. What classroom have you been in that does all of that? Books are my friends. Books are the path I have traveled on my entire life. They show me myself, they show me the unknown, they show me the faces and facets of so many things. I would not be who I am, and I would not have the passion for life that I do were it not for the books that brought me here.
So, I’m starting a series on books I’ve recently read and loved. They will cover a pretty wide range of topics, so hopefully you’ll come across something you haven’t before. I’d like to be clear that I certainly don’t think I know everything about books; quite the contrary. A lot of the things I tend to read these days are things I probably should have read years ago. Most of the titles you’ll see today, for example, were written back when I was in high school, almost a decade ago. I’m a little late in catching up, you see. But it’s ok! I’m here now, awakening to authors whom the rest of the country have lauded for years, and now I’m understanding why. That’s what I love about books; they tend to find you right when you need them. It’s kind of spiritual, in a way.
I hope you enjoy this series, and I’d love to hear what you’re reading these days! It is, after all, my favorite question. So without further ado, the first installment of Recommended Reading. With each title I’ll give a super-brief summary and/or why I liked it, and a favorite snippet. Here we go!

 


Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore
, Robin Sloan

I loved this book- it was a quick and easy read that kept me on my couch for two straight days. Weighing in on the importance of both technology and books, this novel undertakes one of our modern debates: how do we improve our world, what can (or can’t) technology do for us, and why do we still need books and the people who love them? Take all of this and throw in a Dan Brown-type secret society, and you’re in for a fun, yet thoughtful ride.

“I pushed open the bookstore’s glass door. It made a bell tinkle brightly up above, and I stepped slowly through. I did not realize at the time what an important threshold I had just crossed.
Inside: imagine the shape and volume of a normal bookstore turned up on its side. This place was absurdly narrow and dizzyingly tall, and the shelves went all the way up–three stories of books, maybe more. I craned my neck back (why do bookstores always make you do uncomfortable things with your neck?) and the shelves faded smoothly into the shadows in a way that suggested they might just go on forever.
The shelves were packed close together, and it felt like I was standing at the border of a forest–not a friendly, California forest, either, but an old Transylvanian forest, a forest full of wolves and witches and dagger-wielding bandits all waiting just beyond moonlight’s reach. There were ladders that clung to the shelves and rolled side to side. Usually those seem charming, but here, stretching up into the gloom, they were ominous. They whispered rumors of accidents in the dark.”

Runaway, Alice Munro

This was my first time reading this award-winning author, and her short stories are absolutely breathtaking. Understated yet powerful, Munro weaves tales of small-town folks where most of the action happens under the surface. Her lyricism alone is enough to keep you enthralled. Like the show Mad Men, it’s what ‘s not being said that gives these stories their depth and impact.

“After that they spoke about the coolness of the evening, how welcome it was, and how the nights had lengthened noticeably, though there was still all August to get through. And about Juno, how she had wanted to come with them but had settled down immediately when he reminded her that she had to stay and guard the shop. This talk felt more and more like an agreed-upon subterfuge, like a conventional screen for what was becoming more inevitable all the time, more necessary, between them.
But in the light of the railway depot, whatever was promising, or mysterious, was immediately removed. There were people lined up at the window, and he stood behind them, waiting his turn, and bought her ticket.” (from “Tricks”)

Heat, Bill Buford

A somewhat bumbling but energetic home cook, Buford wanted to know what it was that separates a restaurant cook from a home cook. So he went to work for Mario Batali at his famous Manhattan restaurant, Babbo, and his journey from kitchen slave, to Italian pasta-maker and butcher is hilarious, eye-opening, and just plain fun. It made me realize that I will never be a professional chef, but I certainly do love reading about their swashbuckling ways back in the sweat and heat of a restaurant kitchen.

“Again the ticker tape. This was starting to feel like a sporting event. Sweat was running off my nose, and I was moving fast, as fast as my concentration allowed, flipping, turning, poking, being burned, one row pointing to the right, another to the left, poking again, stacking up meat here, rushing over the branzinos that had been waiting for a spot, turning, the flames in the corner of the grill still burning, fed by the fat cascading off the new orders. Again the ticker tape. My mind was at full capacity, with only one stray thought, a question, repeated over and over again: What happens if I fall behind? And still there were more: lamb medium, lamb m.r. What’s wrong with these people? I was surrounded by meat. Meat on the grill. Meat on the seasoning tray. Meat on the resting tray, in big heaps. So much meat that it no longer seemed like meat. Or maybe it seemed exactly like meat. It was tissue and muscle and sinews. And still more orders. ‘This is the buzz,’ Memo whispered, still behind me. ‘This is what you live for,’ Andy said, picking up plates from the pass, adding, mysteriously, ‘it feels really fucking good.’ And the remark remained in my head for the rest of the night, and I thought hard about what I was feeling: exhilaration, fear, weirdness, some physical-endorphin-performance thing. But good? It was, I concluded, my first glimpse of what Mario had described as ‘the reality of the kitchen’– a roomful of adrenaline addicts.”

On Beauty, Zadie Smith

A rivalry between two men becomes heightened when their families begin to intermingle against their wishes. The more these families get to know the others, the more the cracks in their own worlds begin to show. Some of the most beautiful writing I have come across in a while, where the simplest of sentences can stop you in your tracks.

“Her little audience guffawed, pretending to a worldliness none of them had earned.
Ron gripped her chummily round the shoulders. ‘The wages of sin, etcetera,’ he said as they began to walk, and then, ‘Whither morality?’
‘Whither poetry?’ said Hannah.
‘Whither my ass?’ said Daisy, and nudged Zora for one of her cigarettes. They were smooth and bright, and their timing was wonderful, and they were young and hilarious. It was really something to see, they thought, and this was why they spoke loudly and gestured, inviting onlookers to admire.
Tell me about it,’ said Zora, and flicked open the carton.
And so it happened again, the daily miracle whereby interiority opens out and brings to bloom the million-petaled flower of being here, in the world, with other people. Neither as hard as she had thought it might be nor as easy at it appeared.”