Hourglass: Book summary and reviews of Hourglass by Dani Shapiro

Hourglass

Time, Memory, Marriage

by Dani Shapiro

Hourglass by Dani Shapiro X
Hourglass by Dani Shapiro
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About this book

Book Summary

The best-selling novelist and memoirist delivers her most intimate and powerful work: a piercing, life-affirming memoir about marriage and memory, about the frailty and elasticity of our most essential bonds, and about the accretion, over time, of both sorrow and love.

Hourglass is an inquiry into how marriage is transformed by time - abraded, strengthened, shaped in miraculous and sometimes terrifying ways by accident and experience. With courage and relentless honesty, Dani Shapiro opens the door to her house, her marriage, and her heart, and invites us to witness her own marital reckoning - a reckoning in which she confronts both the life she dreamed of and the life she made, and struggles to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become.

What are the forces that shape our most elemental bonds? How do we make lifelong commitments in the face of identities that are continuously shifting, and commit ourselves for all time when the self is so often in flux? What happens to love in the face of the unexpected, in the face of disappointment and compromise - how do we wrest beauty from imperfection, find grace in the ordinary, desire what we have rather than what we lack? Drawing on literature, poetry, philosophy, and theology, Shapiro writes gloriously of the joys and challenges of matrimonial life, in a luminous narrative that unfurls with urgent immediacy and sharp intelligence. Artful, intensely emotional work from one of our finest writers.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [A] touching and intimate memoir." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. A sharply observed and frequently moving memoir of a marriage." - Kirkus

This information about Hourglass shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Kathy K

Interesting Vignettes
This book is unique; written mostly in vignettes, it conveys Shapiro's memories and experiences not only in her eighteen year marriage, but in raising her son, losing her parents, and working alongside her husband (also a successful writer). These vignettes are heartfelt and distilled; Shapiro can convey heart-wrenching sorrow or wry wit, sometimes with just a few sentences. Her passages on memory reminded me a bit of Sarah Manguso's Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, however Hourglass is less obtuse and more accessible. Because this book doesn't follow a linear structure, Shapiro sometimes loops around to the same topics or themes multiple times. This repetition can be tiresome but it is a short book and a quick, enjoyable read nonetheless.

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Author Information

Dani Shapiro Author Biography

Photo: Michael Maren

Dani Shapiro is the author of the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Also an essayist and a journalist, Shapiro’s short fiction, essays, and journalistic pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the op-ed pages of the New York Times, and many other publications. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, the New School, and Wesleyan University; she is cofounder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. She lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

Link to Dani Shapiro's Website

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