All posts tagged: trauma

Wise and emotionally intelligent debut about the sixth-sense between sisters, cycles of violence, mothers & daughters, dissonance about ‘going back’ to childhood, more Hanna Halperin chats about SOMETHING WILD

By Leslie Lindsay A troubling and searing debut from a talented writer about the traumas and darkness of a family, sisterhood, and cycles of violence–in all forms. WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS ALWAYS WITH A BOOK Leslie Lindsay & Hanna Halperin in Conversation A graduate of the MFA program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hanna Halperin‘s stories have been published in the Kenyon Review, n+1, New Ohio Review, Joyland, and others. She has taught fiction workshops at Grub Street in Boston and worked as a domestic violence counselor. About SOMETHING WILD: SOMETHING WILD (Viking, 6/22/21) by Hanna Halperin in one of those family dramas you can’t help but want to look, but dear God, don’t show the whole thing. SOMETHING WILD is visceral and challenging in scope and theme, covering such topics of domestic violence, secrets, jealousy, anger, repulsion, horrifying truths, slippery and elusive adolescent desires, and more. It’s a bit coming-of-age with a present-day story. Told in alternating POVs, adult sisters, Nessa and Tanya leave their respective lives and travel to the Boston suburbs where they are to help their mother, Lorraine, pack up and move …

Laura McHugh is back sharing her sublime & atmospheric new novel, WHAT HAPPENS IN DARKNESS, set in the Missouri Ozarks, traumatic experiences with spiders, sleeping in her car, the claustrophobia of rural towns, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay Abducted as a teenager, a woman must confront her dark and tangled past as another case closely linked to hers comes to the surface. WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS ALWAYS WITH A BOOK Laura McHugh & Leslie Lindsay in conversation Laura McHugh’s novels are often inspired by true crimes, but at the heart of each story, she writes about families: their secrets, their tragedies, and the powerful, complicated bonds of blood. All of her work is set in the Midwest and the Ozarks, where she was raised. Plus, she’s won–and has been nominated–for numerous awards, including International Thriller Writers Award and the Silver Falchion Award for Best First Novel and the Missouri Author Award for Fiction, among others. Laura McHugh’s rural thrillers are always a summertime treat. They are so evocative and atmospheric, drawing such breadth and emotion from the landscape; you can nearly feel the thick humidity and hear the chirp of the cicadas. There’s a murkiness here, too, a gauzy underworld of darker things brewing. ⭑ One of 2021’s Best Beach Reads—OPRAH DAILY ⭑ An Amazon Editors’ …

Nicole Bokat talks about her gorgeously written THE HAPPINESS THIEF, motherhood & careers, the happiness movement, thriving vs surviving, grief, being an empty-nester, how writing fiction is a privilege, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Edgy, smart, and propulsive blend of literary thriller meets family dysfunction. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Motherhood & Mental Illness A masterful tale of family dysfunction, enmeshment, interconnected twists, the infallible effect of memory and emotion, lies, and so much more in Nicole Bokat’s THE HAPPINESS THIEF (SWP, May 18 2021). Natalie Greene is a 41-year old recently divorced woman raising a 15-year old daughter. Even now, she still believes she caused the car crash that led to her mother’s death when she was thirteen. But did she? Haunted by this, her dissolving marriage (and the fact that her ex has so easily moved on), Natalie is trying to make ends meet while being a freelance food photographer when strange emails, the death of her stepfather, and a large FedEx package appears and then disappears, catapulting her back to those earlier days. But there’s more: a recent trip to the Cayman Islands where her stepsister, happiness guru, Isabel’s, conference was held, an eerie similarity to the car crash that happened to Natalie’s mother nearly 30 years prior. Could the two …

A Blazing Portrait of a highly enmeshed sibling relationship, a crumbling English house, a despondent writer-illustrator mother and a slippery twist in Daisy Johnson’s SISTERS

By Leslie Lindsay  A taut, twisty, mind-bending read that is so superbly written, so lyrical and tragic.  ~Writers Interviewing Writers|Always with a Book~ Spotlight: Siblings A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR ONE OF THE TOP TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR —PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR —VULTURE “Daisy Johnson is the demon offspring of Shirley Jackson and Stephen King.” —The Observer (London)“Builds a gothic plot to an artful and shocking climax.” —The New York Times“Ends with a magnificent twist.” —The Boston Globe From a Booker Prize finalist and international literary star: a blazing portrait of one darkly riveting sibling relationship, from the inside out. Something unspeakable and unbearable happened between sisters July and September, just 10 months apart and named for their birth months. What presents as not-quite a thriller, not quite-a novel, not-quite horror or prose poetry, it is but all of those things, and that’s what makes SISTERS (Riverhead, August 2020) such a slippery one to pin down. Reading this story is strange and fantastical, a bit like a …

Ladee Hubbard on her new novel, THE RIB KING, how it is a historical novel haunted by the present, racial violence, cultural stereotypes; plus, developing strong characters with compelling backstory

By Leslie Lindsay  Bold, original frame story of a class, race, revenge, set in 1914 at a white home with black servants, THE RIB KING is truly a unique read not quite like any other. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Women Writers of Color GLOWING PRAISE for THE RIB KING: Book Riot – Our Most Anticipated Releases of 2021| Real Simple – The Best New Books to Read in 2021|Chicago Review of Books – 12 Must-Read Books of January | Book Riot – January 2021 Horoscopes and Book Recommendations |Glamour–7 of the Best New Books in January | Vulture – 46 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2021 |Lit Hub – Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021|GMA.com – 16 January reads for the new year |Harper’s Bazaar – 24 Books You Need to Read in 2021|The Millions – Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2021 Book Preview | Popsugar – From Bravery to Outlawed – These Are the Best Books of January 2021|Ms. Magazine – January 2021 Reads for the Rest of …

NYT bestselling author Bob Kolker talks about his oprah book club pick HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD, the history–and future–of schizophrenia, family trauma, resillience, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  A razor-sharp tale of one American family ravaged by the devastating effects of mental illness, schizophrenia, in particular. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WEDNSDAYS WITH WRITERS OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER  ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR ONE OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR PEOPLE’S #1 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR  Named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, TIME, Slate, Smithsonian, The New York Post, and Amazon  Meet the Galvins. They are your all-American family living in Colorado in the 1950s-70s, except they have one big secret, and one big family: half of the dozen children are afflicted with mental illness. Welcome home to HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD: Inside the Mind of an American Family (Doubleday, April 2020) and meet Don and Mimi, their ten good-looking boys, and equally stunning daughters. After WWII, Don’s work with the Air Force brings them to Colorado, where the baby-making doesn’t seem to cease. But not to worry, Mimi has it all under control. She’s …

Debut author Ashley audrain talks about her ravishingly dark and twisted THE PUSH, about motherhood, the postpartum period, intergenerational trauma, family legacy + reading list, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Deliciously dark and juicy psychological drama–a DEBUT–you’ll be talking about long after you turn the last page, the issues and concerns surrounding motherhood, family history, genetics, and more.  ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ THE PUSH (forthcoming from Pamela Dorman Books/PRH January 5, 2021) is one of those buzzy–OMG–books you’ll devour in one sitting. Is it a conversation-started? You bet. Will have it have you puzzling out your own maternal history–going back generations? Yes, that too. Here, we meet Blythe Connor, a woman whose experience of motherhood is not at all what she imagine. Blythe is determined to be the warm, caring, generous mother she herself never had. Still, she can’t let go of the disturbing, nagging thought that her daughter, Violet is not like other children. Is something ‘off?’ She’s distant, defiant, stubborn, antisocial, angry. Is she dangerous? Is Blythe just exhausted? Is it because Blythe doesn’t have much of a mother figure and her childhood was distorted? And her mother’s childhood, too? Maybe. Here we examine motherhood in the most …

Ravishing bold & meaty memoir focusing on mothers, mental health, grief, but also trauma, the female body, traditional ‘womanhood;’ plus writing structure, more in WIVING

By Leslie Lindsay  Ravishingly bold and haunting memoir about growing up Mormon, ‘wifely’ expectations, mental illness, and sexual abuse. ~Writers Interviewing Writers |ALWAYS WITH BOOK~ I was immediately taken with this compassionately visceral and lyrical memoir by Caitlyn Myer.  WIVING (Arcade Books/Skyhorse Publishing, July 2020) is so brave, so bold, all things laid bare account of the author’s upbringing, but also abuse and personal sexuality. Raised Utah in a traditional Mormon family, Caitlin Myer’s life had an expected trajectory: she would attend church-related activities, hold on to her virginity, learn to be sweet and compliant, keep a hope chest, and then when the time was right, she would marry and enter ‘full womanhood.’ I read with such an urgency a worry and an impending sense of doom–things do not go to plan. As much as I loved WIVING, it’s a challenge to summarize it in terms of plot–it comes to the reader in a fragmented, spiraling thread, and I love this structure. It’s much like life in that sense, and in what I think encompasses the entirety of the narrative: …

Can we break the cycle of trauma and abuse? Kristi Carter talks about this, the twilight of spring, Southern identity, the struggles that make up womankind, and so much more in this luminous collection of poetry in ARIA VISCERA

By Leslie Lindsay Such a gorgeously dark and ruminative collection of poetry focusing on one’s thick, oppressive familial heritage, and yet, a compelling light to break the cycle. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ With a title like ARIA VISCERA (April Gloaming Press, May 5 2020), I could hardly resist this collection by Kristi Carter. In music, aria is defined as a singular voice, self-contained, and it also brings to mind great expansion, an origin I am not familiar with etymologically, but maybe. And of course, viscera represents the internal organs. Being a writer with a background in medicine, this collection spoke to me, quite literally, but once I dove into the pages, I discovered there was another calling: it’s about a scarred past, and how scars don’t exactly go away, but fade; it’s about finding one’s own light in dark times, of escaping the cycle of abuse, neglect, of breaking away. Divided into four sections, ARIA VISCERA focuses on birth, names, anatomy, mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, brothers, life cycles; it’s also about myths and monsters (literal and …

Childhood Homelessness in America is on the rise–why–and how you can help, plus, resilience, writing, and imagination in this gorgeous and evocative novel from Rene Denfeld, THE BUTTERFLY GIRL

By Leslie Lindsay Gorgeous companion to THE CHILD FINDER, this book stands on its own and is as stunning as harrowing. I loved Rene Denfeld’s previous book, THE CHILD FINDER (2017), but THE BUTTERFLY GIRL (October 1 2019) absolutely glimmers. It’s a gripping account of underprivileged, disadvantaged children and their circumstances . Naomi is an exceptional young woman who has a knack for finding missing or displaced children. Now, we continue with her story as she is wracked with the guilt and compulsion of finding her own sister, who disappeared years ago when both girls were in captivity. Naomi escaped, but her sister didn’t. Naomi has no picture, no idea even what her sister’s name is. She can’t remember; it was that traumatic. And she was just a kid when it all happened. All Naomi has is a vague sense of a strawberry field at night, black dirt rimming her nails, and bare feet. She ran for her life. Now, nearly twenty years later, Naomi is in Portland Oregon, amidst skid row, where scores of homeless children wander in and out of shelters, abandoned paint factories, and …