All posts tagged: death

B.A. Paris talks about her new domestic suspense, THE THERAPIST, about a London community, how her formative years in the U.K. has shaped her storytelling, hitting a wall, self-doubt, how ideas come best in that liminal state between wake and sleep, more

By Leslie Lindsay  An unsettling tale of a London couple who move into a gated community rife with dark secrets—a murder and more. WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS ALWAYS WITH A BOOK B.A. Paris & Leslie Lindsay in conversation With an absolutely gripping central mystery, U.K. author by way of France, B.A. Paris delivers a hit readers will surely devour as quickly as Behind Closed Doors, and joins a cadre of authors who’ve produced unforgettable books, like An Anonymous Girl, The Silent Patient, and You Should Have Known, about tortured and mysterious therapists. B.A. Paris burst on the scene in 2016 with her break-out bestseller, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, which had me racing through the pages. She’s back now with THE THERAPIST, (St. Martin’s Press, July 13), about a close-knit suburban community where everyone is a little on-edge, and with good reason: there’s been a murder and everyone is still reeling, and grieving, and more. Plus, there are newcomers, a therapist, a private investigator, and so much more. Alice feels compelled to get to the bottom of this …

Memoir Monday May Roundup with an emphasis on Motherhood & Mental Illness

By Leslie Lindsay May is all about growth. Spring is in full bloom; and it’s a time for recognition and celebration, but it can also be a loaded month. Over thirty years ago this month, my mother devolved into psychosis. We were estranged starting in my tweens, until her suicide over six years ago. How does that leave me to mother my own daughters? Would I fall victim to the same genetic legacy? Could I break the cycle of poor mother-daughter relationships? And how do I celebrate Mother’s Day with no mother? How did I celebrate my mother when she was alive and not capable of being much of one? “I am so grateful to have this conversation with you. It means a great deal respond to someone who has so carefully read my work and I’m thankful to have this opportunity to reflect in this way.” -Vince Granta, EVERYTHING’S FINE For the entire month of May, I’ve featured some really wise and thoughtful authors–they’ve courageously shared their relationships with their mothers, opened up about …

Maryanne O’Hara and I chat about LITTLE MATCHES, a gorgeous tribute to her late daughter, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, transformational healing, reiki, end-of-life doulas, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you’re left to grapple with the meaning of life? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS | ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health Awareness Month What happens when your only child dies of a tragic genetic disease and you’re left to grapple with the meaning of life? This is the overarching question that plaques novelist Maryanne O’Hara as she makes sense of the senseless loss of her adult daughter, Caitlin, following a near-lifelong battle of cystic fibrosis (CF) in her forthcoming memoir, LITTLE MATCHES (HarperOne, April 20 2021). Immediately, I was enthralled with the deep well of questions this wise writer posits to the reader: Where is she?Is she?Is there more to life than this life?Does consciousness survive death?Does my existence have any purpose?Does anyone’s? Of course, death is the only certainty in life and while that’s ironic (and a bit glib), there is so much life that happens in that interstitial space. This is why I think I love LITTLE MATCHES. Maryanne and her husband, Nick, …

Scott Carson dives into the chilly waters of the fictional–but inspired by an actual reservoir–in upstate New York, the fall-out, plus the murky depth of the supernatural in this eco-thriller THE CHILL and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  A literary thriller based on actual small upstate NY towns flooded in effort to create drinking water for the residents of NYC, with a supernatural twist. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Far upstate, in New York’s ancient forests, a drowned village lies beneath the deep, still waters of the (fictional) Chilewaukee Reservoir. THE CHILL (Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Feb 2020) is about that drowned town, Galesburg, once home to many. It wasn’t a booming metropolis, but people were happy. Early in the twentieth century (1910-1928), many towns like Galesburg were destroyed for greater good: bringing water to the millions in downstate NYC. The local folks settled there many years prior to America’s founding (some say the town dates back to 1682), and they didn’t leave without a fight…some didn’t leave at all. Now, a century later, the repercussions of human arrogance are finally making themselves known. An inspector notes problems on the dam, a man decides to swim in in and uncovers a corpse…or does he? He suffers from addiction so maybe he’s just strung out? Others …

Carol Goodman’s newest THE SEA OF LOST GIRLS about deception, moody teens, a mysterious death, and so much more, set against the backdrop of an elite prep school

By Leslie Lindsay  ~Weekend Reading Spotlight|Always with a Book~ CAROL GOODMAN is the 2018 recipient of the Mary Higgins Clark Award from the Mystery Writers of America for The Widow’s House.  She’s nominated for the award again in 2020 for her most recent novel, The Night Visitors. And years ago, I was completely enamored with boarding schools thanks to THE LAKE OF DEAD LANGUAGES. Now, THE SEA OF LOST GIRLS (WilliamMorrow, March 3, 2020; Trade Paperback Original) Goodman uses her adroit storytelling to bring a simmering new work of psychological suspense, in which one woman’s carefully hidden past might destroy her future—all set against the backdrop of a prestigious prep school with its own dark secrets hidden among the ivy.     “Carol Goodman is a superb writer, and she explores family and small-town dynamics in a way that’s both suspenseful and touchingly real. THE SEA OF LOST GIRLS features a fascinating cast of characters, intriguing setting—and enough shocking twists to leave you breathless. I loved it.” — Alison Gaylin, Edgar Award-winning author of Never Look Back Tess has worked hard to keep her …

Poet John James talks about how he doesn’t think we ever truly leave childhood, plus his father’s death, how humanity is ensconced in the natural world, technology, more in THE MILK HOURS

By Leslie Lindsay Pensive but inquisitive, THE MILK HOURS is a debut poetry collection about loss, the intimacy of art and dreams, and the vulnerable space of new life.  What does it mean to live in a state of loss, when the two are nearly imcompatible? That’s the overarching question in THE MILK HOURS: Poems, a debut collection from John James (Milkweed Editions, June 2019). Populated with living, grieving things, THE MILK HOURS is scattered with roots, bodies, and concealed histories. There are cemeteries and the milky breath of babies. We taste art and geography, and crunch on gravel, and are moved through dream sequences and religious myth and story. James takes science and nature and cleaves it into something new, something at once beautiful, but destructive. How do we make meaning in this world–to whom do we turn? Each other? Can those boundaries collapse? THE MILK HOURS is sparsely, yet densely written. It’s at once lush and stark, full of metaphor and unsettled-ness. James has such a fabulous and unique grasp of language, a shifting perspective on nature, fecundity, and decay. This …

Best-selling author Sally Hepworth is back with her best yet, THE MOTHER-IN-LAW. It’s a fragile bond, but could you kill her?

By Leslie Lindsay  A twisty, compelling novel about the fragile bonds of women–particularly the wife and mother-in-law dynamic–ending, or rather, beginning, in a mysterious death.  I am so intrigued with Sally Hepworth’s ‘darker’ women’s fiction and I think THE MOTHER-IN-LAW (St. Martin’s Press, April 23 2019) might be her best yet. From the moment Lucy met her mother-in-law, Diana, things had been rocky at best. Diana told her friends (and son) after that first meeting that Lucy was “just fine,” and well…Lucy wasn’t all that taken with Diane, either. She was polite and properly friendly, but guarded, cold. Having lost her own mother at a young age, Lucy was expecting a bit more…still, she wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law. That was a few years ago. Now, Lucy is mother to three and a stay-at-home mom. Things with Diana haven’t exactly been unicorns and rainbows, but Lucy has managed just fine. But, now, Diana is found dead in her home. There’s a suicide note near her body. Diana claimed she no longer wanted to live because she …

Dave Patterson talks about his sublime coming-of-age, which reads like a memoir, his wavering faith, brotherhood, and so much more in SOON THE LIGHT WILL BE PERFECT

By Leslie Lindsay Two brothers struggle to survive a traumatic summer in rural Vermont is as haunting as poignant.  Buzzfeed included Soon the Light Will be Perfect on their list of 37 Amazing New Books this Spring SOON THE LIGHT WILL BE PERFECT (Hanover Square Press/HarperCollins, April 2 2019) is one of those books that’s just so gorgeous and authentic, you forget you’re reading–and then you question if it’s truly fiction because the author does such a fantastic job of pulling the reader right into the story with tiny observations that feel very accurate. Our unnamed narrator is a 12-year old boy on the cusp of young adulthood. He lives with his family in a poverty-stricken area in Vermont. But the family has done well enough that they are able to move away from the trailer park. His mother is a homemaker and his father works at a weapons manufacturing plant. The date is never specified, but we glean the story is set in the late 1980s or early 1990s because 1) it’s a coming-of-age novel and 2) The Gulf War is just beginning. …

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 …

Would you read a book about dead people? You should–there’s so much life thrumming within the pages of THE BALTIMORE BOOK OF THE DEAD

By Leslie Lindsay “Death is the subtext of life,” writes the author in her introduction of THE BALTIMORE BOOK OF THE DEAD, and she would be right. A PBS NewsHour Best Book of the Year  One of the Top Ten Books of the Year, Newark Star-Ledger Poetic vignettes of 60+ individuals (including one dog and one goldfish), Winik captures the beauty of living in this slim book. Plus, that cover! Longtime commentator of NPR’s “All Things Considered” (1991-2006), Marion Winik reviews books for Newsday, People, and Kirkus, and is host of The Weekly Reader podcast. I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to relish in her poetic, yet sparse writing.  And relish, I did. Although THE BALTIMORE BOOK OF THE DEAD is a slim volume (heck, it could almost fit in your pocket), you might be tempted to breeze right through it in one sitting. But don’t.  Every short essay (2-3 pages at most) deserves your full attention, a careful read. I was amazed and awed with how vivid a portrait Ms. Winik could paint with few words. There’s hope, love, family, …