The 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.
Josh Henkin is the author of Matrimony, a New York Times Notable Book, Borders Original Voices Pick, and Booksense Pick. His short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in many journals and newspapers. He teaches at Sarah Lawrence College, Brooklyn College, and the 92nd Street Y in New York City. Josh lives with his family in Brooklyn.
More From Year in Reading
- A Year in Reading: 2014 Wrap-Up December 23, 2014
- A Year in Reading: Charles Finch December 22, 2014
- A Year in Reading: Michael Robbins December 22, 2014
- A Year in Reading: Elizabeth Minkel December 21, 2014
- A Year in Reading: Matt Seidel December 21, 2014
- View All
Other Recent Articles
- The Book Report: Episode 17: ‘Get In Trouble’ and ‘On the Abolition of All Political Parties’ April 17, 2015
- Like Father, Like Son: Literary Parentage in Reif Larsen’s ‘I Am Radar’ April 17, 2015
- How Will I Live? Fame, Money, Day Jobs, and Fiction Writing. April 16, 2015
- The 2015 IMPAC Shortlist Delivers 10 Eclectic Titles April 15, 2015
- Reign of Terror: Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s ‘Guantanámo Diary’ April 15, 2015
- View All
- David Thielen says "Another author who deserves kudos for predicting some major items across his work is Arthur C..."The Weird 1969 New Wave Sci-Fi Novel that Correctly Predicted the Current Day
- tg says "This was my first and last reading if this is representative of her novels. For me it was a long haul..."Murder Goes to Prep School: A Conversation About Tana French’s The Secret Place
- toad says "“I read Defoe and Asturias and Sterne and Stendhal and Verga and Carducci and Blasco Ibáñez and..."Like Father, Like Son: Literary Parentage in Reif Larsen’s ‘I Am Radar’
- Gina says "Love all these comments! Thank you all for reading. Nice to know I am not alone in my love of the 18th century. And that..."How Will I Live? Fame, Money, Day Jobs, and Fiction Writing.
- Claire Bloom says "As an audiobook director, I recently had the privilege of directing “Evelina.” My narrator and I..."How Will I Live? Fame, Money, Day Jobs, and Fiction Writing.