L.V. Anderson of Slate reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."
In "The Trauma of Everyday Life," out now from the Penguin Press, Mark Epstein addresses something everyone knows, but no one likes to talk about: trauma happens to everybody.
No one escapes from illness, old age or death, and even relatively minor traumas, like the emotional neglect of a parent, leave a mark on us.
Epstein, a psychiatrist and a Buddhist, has written a book that is part philosophical treatise, part self-help manual. His writing is firmly grounded in the classical Buddhist tradition.
This might make "The Trauma of Everyday Life" seem intimidating or inaccessible to non-Buddhists, but Epstein weaves in anecdotes from his patients’ lives and his own life to demonstrate the paradoxical crux of his thinking: that the only way out of trauma is through it.
By pushing our suffering away, we make it worse, but if we learn how to accept it and sit with it, we can find some illumination in it.
Amy Grace Loyd’s debut novel is like a beautifully rendered case study on the trauma of everyday life.
"The Affairs of Others," out now from Picador, is narrated by Celia, a young landlady who lost her husband to cancer five years ago.
Celia carries the pain of her husband’s death everywhere with her, and, not incidentally, she likes to maintain her privacy and her distance from others.
But when an older woman named Hope moves into Celia’s building, bringing with her a torrid affair with an erratic man, Celia finds the boundaries between herself and her tenants dissolving.
"The Affairs of Others" is about what happens to women after they are abandoned by the men they love, about the inescapable clasping desperation that accompanies heartbreak and about the peace that can be found in a kindred spirit.
Riveting and poignant in equal parts, "The Affairs of Others" is a masterful debut that shows rather than tells the beauty that can be found in suffering.
Read more about these and other titles in the Slate Book Review at slate.com/books.