Darin Strauss's Half a Life is impossible to put down. The book's artful design caught my eye before I even began reading: the thick, fine paper, maroon cloth binding and only half of a paper dust jacket begged me to find out what story it held. Once I opened the pages and began, I found no chapters, no preface and no epilogue. Strauss tells his sorrowful tale in short fits of spare prose and I whisked through the pages, hoping he would find peace or at least resolution in the struggle to share his grief.
Strauss's honesty is both recognizable and foreign. The author's words are recognizable, and at times, uncomfortable, because his physical and emotional responses to the tragedy reflect our own experiences, our own inner dialogue with secret guilts and regrets; yet, they are also foreign to us since we are used to carefully hiding our own such struggles and we suspect - and ...
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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