All The News I Need by Joan Frank
All I Need Is The News
I have no idea how I managed not to know about this book the minute it came out. I finished it a few days ago and the minute I read the last word it went straight to my Sacred Texts shelf. It is nothing short of exquisite. The story is moving, the writing magnificent. She gets inside the anxiety of a stalled life, the terrible doom of unexpressed grief and writes it with a painfully slow drip of specifics that edges right up to unbearable (in a good way!).
I loved every word. I copied full pages of the book into my journal just to experience what it might have felt like to think it, see it, write it.
Here are a few shorter passages to give you a sense of what I mean about the writing:
“People mean well. That's the prison of it. Everyone means well. We all go through the dinners once in a while, everyone relieved as hell when it's done. The thing I can never get over is what a screaming dullness rules the room in their midst, without him...Every gathering the same. All of us drowning in good intentions but no one has any ideas, nobody wants to stir things up...”
“Very little, he now recognizes, is solvable: very little ever was, and that's the crucial news of aging, which (he begins to understand) if you simply grasp in a certain way can actually give real comfort...a subtle adjustment, like clicking into a very low gear on an expensive bike.”
“Why, she thinks, do we demand that things add up? Our peculiar burden. That's what Kirk would say. Burden and object. Dogged and dumb as a beating heart. She thinks of her own heart, lubbing along like a deaf-mute sailor afloat in her rib cage. Quiet, faithful, rowing away. Unaware of its heart-ness, of any limit to itself, any allotted span.”
About Susan Edsall
Writing is how I make my way through the thicket of what we’ve made of this planet we’re on. It takes me a long time and lots of words. Social media mystifies me. How do so many people have so much to say, so quickly, and with such resolute certainty? Read more about Susan >