Author Archive

The Mother of All Fears

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This week, I reread Alexandra Kleeman’s short story “Choking Victim”. I had first read it when it was published in The New Yorker in May 2016, when I was spending most of my days at home with a mysterious newborn.

Band of Mothers

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A few days before my son was born, my parents and sister came to Princeton, where my husband and I lived at the time, to witness the birth. They had found a sublet a few blocks away from our apartment, but my mother wanted to spend the first few

Bruno Schulz and a Mother’s Tough Love

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Like many things in my life, the writer Bruno Schulz is an example of how I used to focus on men. Men’s troubles, men’s heartache, men’s surprising capacity for emotion. The sight of a man crying would put me in a state.

Elisa Albert’s After Birth and Getting My Body Back

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Why did nobody tell me it would be this way? Elisa Albert’s narrator, Ari, seems to be asking throughout the novel After Birth. And why is no one around to help me through it now?

Don’t (Never) Change: On Holding On and Letting Go

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Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve been aware of my inability to maintain a daily journal. Upon the birth of my child, when my life was instantly transformed and everyone around urged me to savor it, this shortcoming became ever more pernicious.

Rachel Cusk and the Unbearable Lightness of Being

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When I was pregnant, I felt for the first time in my life that I came first. Suddenly, my needs and desires weren’t mere whims; in the gestation of another being, they mattered tremendously. When this being was extracted from my body, I still felt it crucial to put

The Elephant in the Room: How Elissa Schappell Broke My Heart Twice

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In March 2015, I went off the pill. It was all very well-planned on the surface, but inside I was hesitant, equivocal, terrified. I knew I wanted to have kids, but I didn’t ache for a baby, and I was worried about all the ways it would change my

Nothing but Time: On the Effects of Reading Meg Wolitzer

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“Aren’t you tired?” my husband asked one night when, rather than going straight to sleep, I turned on my bedside lamp and cracked open Meg Wolitzer’s The Ten-Year Nap.

Keeping the Faith: How Anne Lamott Can Save Your Life

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Last summer, when my baby was four months old, we traveled to Israel to visit our families. My husband and I had been moving around the East Coast for several years--from Princeton to Brooklyn just before our trip. We were still figuring out our son’s schedule, nutritional needs, likes

The Learning Curve: Fact, Fiction, and What I’ve Learned

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This ability to slip in and out and between voices has been crucial for my style of work. I’ve always been involved in multiple projects at a time, and while I typically finish translating one book before moving on to the next, there are always edits coming back from