All posts tagged: cancer

GHOST WEEK: Is writing about family a kindness or intrusion? Kat Chow’s SEEING GHOSTS: A Memoir about her mother, race, culture, immigration, more, plus a writing prompt

By Leslie Lindsay “[…]The archaeologists of memory, unearthing places we have wavered in going. Like all books that haunt us long after reading, SEEING GHOSTS is a courageous act of excavation and salvage.” –Ocean Vuong, New York Times bestselling author of ON EARTH WE ARE BRIEFLY BEAUTIFUL ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS~ GHOST WEEK ALWAYS WITH A BOOK|MEMOIR MONDAY Featured Spotlight: SEEING GHOSTS: A Memoir Kat Chow is a writer and journalist, a former NPR reporter, and the founding member of the Code Switch team. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and on RadioLab, among others. She is one of Pop Culture Happy Hour’s fourth chairs. She received residency fellowships from the Millay Colony and the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. She lives near Washington, D.C. SEEING GHOSTS (Grand Central Publishing, August 24 2021) is her highly anticipated first book. ABOUT SEEING GHOSTS: A powerful and haunting portrait of grief told through the prism of three generations of Kat Chow’s family. Always unusually fixated on death, Kat worried constantly about her …

Lee Matalone on her razor-sharp, elegant debut, HOME MAKING, about identity, belonging, mother-daughter relationships, her love of architecture, how she never intended to write a novel, and the importance of the line

By Leslie Lindsay  An elegant, perceptive, yet powerful debut about what it means to belong, to search for self within the constructs of a home. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS| ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ HOME MAKING: A Novel by Lee Matalone (HarperPerennial, Feb 18 2020) is such an intangible kind of read–it’s not fully a novel, not fully a memoir, but somewhere between. And I really loved this hybrid-like approach. It’s told in first person and doesn’t exactly follow the traditional arc of fiction, but it more meditative, quiet, introspective like one might expect of a memoir. Having said all that, this is a work of fiction (of course, like all good fiction, it’s often mined from the ‘real-life’ of the author’s experiences). The story starts off with a Japanese woman who runs away with a French man, becomes pregnant, then puts the baby up for adoption.That baby is adopted by an American family leaves Japan, and is raised with her adoptive family in Tucson, Arizona. This little girl (Cybil) grows up to become an ob/gyn, delivering babies while her own, a daughter (Chloe), …

Family Estrangement is very real and very hurtful. Harriet Brown talks about this, plus forgiveness and writing with an open heart in SHADOW DAUGHTER

By Leslie Lindsay  An interwoven tapestry of personal story and research, SHADOW DAUGHTER: A MEMOIR OF ESTRANGEMENT  sets out to uncover the guilt, trauma, rage, betrayal, and more when it comes to family estrangement.  Research shows that seven percent of all people are estranged from a parent or sibling. But what, exactly, does estrangement consist of? No contact whatsoever? A greeting card here and there? What if you just try to avoid that person? And what about the shame factor? What kind of person breaks ties with their family? And so it goes. Harriet Brown deftly interweaves her personal story of estrangement with her mother, along with anecdotes, plus research from clinicians and researchers, giving a broader definition of ‘estrangement.’ SHADOW DAUGHTER (DaCapo Press, November 2018) reads a bit academically–that is, it’s packed with much research–but don’t let that fool you. Brown is sympathetic, intelligent, and nurturing. She and her mother have gone in cycles of connection and estrangement nearly all of her life. On the day of her mother’s funeral, following a battle with cancer, Brown is …

WeekEND Reading: Heather Gudenkauf on her most personal thriller yet, who her favorite character is, why nurses aren’t boring, grit, determination, oh–and a dead body–in her new book, NOT A SOUND

By Leslie Lindsay  New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf churns out her most personal, and powerful story yet with NOT A SOUND, rife with medical mysteries and a murder, too.  When a tragic accident leaves ER nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose anything she ever cared about: her career, her husband, and her 7-year old stepdaughter, Nora. It’s two years after that fateful night in which Amelia loses her hearing when she stumbles across a dead body in the dense brush by the river where she likes to paddleboard–someone she knows. I don’t want to give away too much, but it goes without saying that she gets wrapped up in the murder case. Clues seem so familiar to her own, earlier accident which caused her deafness. Could the two be related? Told entirely from Amelia’s first-person POV, the writing in NOT A SOUND is taut, emotional, fast-paced, and Gudenkauf’s research clearly shows. Amelia Winn is strong, capable and I was definitely rooting for …