Year in Reading

A Year in Reading: Joshua Henkin

By posted at 4:43 am on December 6, 2007 1

Joshua Henkin is the author of the novel Swimming Across the Hudson, which was named a Los Angeles Times notable book of the year. His new novel, Matrimony, was published in October.

covercoverThe book that comes most immediately to mind is Andrew Holleran’s Grief, a slim, restrained, beautifully rendered novel about a gay man whose mother has just died and who relocates to Washington, DC, after having cared for her for years. Holleran does so much so well, but perhaps most striking is how compellingly he writes about solitude; many a writer has tried to do that, only to succumb to inertia and solipsism. Another writer who writes wonderfully about solitude (and just about everything else) is William Trevor (if you want brilliant, heartbreaking solitude, take a look at Trevor’s short story “After Rain”), and his new book of stories, Cheating at Canasta, is terrific. So is Donald Antrim’s memoir The Afterlife, which, speaking of grief, is about his mother’s death, but also about many other things, including the purchase of a mattress. I loved Helen Schulman’s A Day at the Beach, the best of the 9/11 novels I read this year. This novel, too, is about grief (are we sensing a theme here?) – political and cultural grief, of course, but also about family grief: the novel is a domestic drama about a marriage in trouble, with 9/11 as the backdrop.

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One Response to “A Year in Reading: Joshua Henkin”

  1. Sam
    at 9:56 am on December 6, 2007

    "Grief" is a beautiful book, I wholeheartedly agree. (Everyone should also read Holleran's "Dancer from the Dance.")

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