Archive for July, 2012

11 July, 2012

Cheryl Strayed: Wild and Beautiful

I’m over at the Huffington Post speaking with Cheryl Strayed, the author of the best-selling memoir, Wild (Knopf, March, 2012 ), whose collection of advice-columns, Tiny, Beautiful Things (Vintage, July 2012), just came out. You can read the full interview here. Below, a taste:

RF: You have said that our work in life is to “build a house,” one composed of a moral code that tells us exactly what to do in any given moment. Has there ever been a time, as a writer, when your own “house” seemed inhospitable or when, no matter how solid it seemed, the gray areas made it difficult for you to know “the right thing to do?”

CS: Life is gray, it’s true, but when I wrote about “building the house” I wasn’t writing about life in general. I was writing about the internal compass we all have, which can be a clearer, truer thing than life if we allow it to be. It can lead us through the gray. Most of the time when I feel conflicted, I see upon closer examination that it’s really more of a situational contortion I’ve put myself in. I know what the “right thing” is, but I don’t want to do it because it will disappoint someone or it will interrupt some misguided sense I have about who I’m supposed to be or I’ll be attempting to justify my actions to myself, even when I know damn well what’s what. Having said that, I’m still lost about a quarter of the time. Hence, the phrase “we are here to build the house,” rather than “we are here to lounge around the house and drink margaritas.”

10 July, 2012

On Forgiveness: Natalie Serber

I am over at the Huffington Post with a review of Natalie Serber’s Shout Her Lovely Name (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, June, 2012). You can read the full review here. Below, a taste:

“There is an element of the miraculous in a collection of stories whose characters reveal the fundamental predicament of all parents and children: to make new mistakes that, inevitably, leave us with few joys and deep regrets. To swear, as Ruby does, to defy her mother’s manthra, to “learn to shift my expectations, to learn that some things in life you just have to put up with,” and, decades later, end up with a daughter her own age who looks at Ruby, her “mother with a terrible sense of direction” — in all possible iterations of that word, we’ve come to learn — and says “I’ve never been young, Mom.” Five simple words more damning than any speech full of reference to specific incident could ever be.”

The Books:

The Books:

On Sal Mal Lane

In the tradition of In the Time of the Butterflies and The Kite Runner, a tender, evocative novel about the years leading up to the Sri Lankan civil war.

A Disobedient Girl

A Disobedient Girl is a compelling map of womanhood, its desires and loyalties, set against the backdrop of beautiful, politically turbulent, Sri Lanka.