Honeymoon Sandy

THE MORNING NEWS. On Monday, October 29th, four days after our marriage, Hurricane Sandy struck New York City. On the first Sunday of our wedded lives, we walked home through the West Village with a cartload of storm supplies. Half the adults around us were shepherding tiny costumed children, while the other half lugged bottled water and toilet paper.

“We seem to be in some sort of hurricane-Halloween crosscurrent,” Sharon said…

Native Daughter

GUERNICA. I had first learned to walk in Columbus, Ohio. What better place to try traveling again?

Lady Gaga’s Wheelchair

RACKED. When I thought about buying a mobility scooter, I felt embarrassed and humiliated, as if I’d failed at some basic element of personhood. But shame wouldn’t do my walking for me…

Goodbye, Ruby

KINDLE SINGLES. I was fond of my uterus. I pictured it as a sock puppet, a cheerful monster that bled once a month, cramped occasionally, and ballooned with delight during sex…

On Fear

KINDLE SINGLES. One morning seven years ago I woke up smiling. “I dreamed we had a little black cat named Fumiko,” I told my partner.

“Why don’t we have a little black cat named Fumiko?” came the reply.

The dream offered a note of sweetness during a difficult season: I’d spent years laid up with mysterious injuries no doctor could explain…

The Sapphire and the Tooth

KINDLE SINGLES. Have you ever heard a tooth smash? There’s a pop like ice cubes wrenched from the tray, like wet chalk crushed underfoot. It’s a tiny sound, and a terrifying one.

When I entered my mother’s house a week after her death, her jewelry-making table stood just as she’d left it, mid-project…

What Sign of the MTA Elevator Zodiac Are You?

PUBLIC BOOKS. The Gemini of the NYC subway elevator zodiac, you contain multitudes, Atlantic Avenue. While many subway elevators can be a bit retiring, you’re brash and voluble, offering a bevy of routes to the street, including, in one spot, an unheard-of two elevators side by side.

What She Left Me

THE INTIMA: A JOURNAL OF NARRATIVE MEDICINE. Sinister double to the works of art—the jewelry, the writing desk, even the Birkenstocks—passed from mother to daughter, our autoimmune disease is a set of instructions our bodies remember and replicate perfectly.

A God in Ruins, by Kate Atkinson: Review

BOSTON GLOBE. By definition, a story of survival — and especially a story of surviving World War II — is an unlikely one. Kate Atkinson’s best-selling and award-winning “Life After Life” (2013) began with the birth and death of Englishwoman Ursula Todd in 1910, strangled by her own umbilical cord. Returning to Ursula’s birth repeatedly, Atkinson allowed her heroine to live a little longer each time (killing her off repeatedly with Spanish flu in 1919) until she survived long enough to endure the London Blitz and die of a stroke decades later…

The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty, by Amanda Filipacchi: review

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE. An ugly woman named Barb walks into a bar and engages an attractive man in conversation. When he tries to blow her off, she removes glasses, a wig, false teeth and a fat suit, revealing a goddess of modelesque proportions. “You deceived me,” he protests. “You stole … my opportunity to make a good first impression.” Why did she do it? To confront the man with his own superficiality: Beauty shouldn’t matter, but it does…

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