A Year in Reading: Edan Lepucki

December 7, 2008 | 3 books mentioned 2 min read

Edan Lepucki is a regular contributor to The Millions, and her short fiction will soon be appearing in Avery and the Los Angeles Review.

coverAn Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken. McCracken’s memoir is, as the New York Times puts it, “an unstinting account of the novelist’s emotions after the stillbirth of her first child.” It’s also about the happiness she experienced before the tragedy, when she was pregnant in an old farmhouse in the south of France, and the happiness she feels now as the mother of a second, healthy child, even as the death of her first child remains an indelible fact. It’s about grief: how it never fades, never heals, even as life continues. Like Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, the book’s structure bears the confusion and enormity of this grief – it cannot, will not, follow chronologically. McCracken’s memoir was the most moving book I read this year.

Look at Me by Jennifer Egan. I’ve written about this terrific novel before, calling it “equal parts beautiful, entertaining, satirical and sad,” and I’ll write about it again because I enjoyed it so much. Egan’s scenes are intricate and entertaining, her sentences enviable, surprising, and buttery smooth. She is one of my new favorite writers.

coverThe Urban Homestead by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen. In the fantasy-version of my life, I grow a garden outside my one-bedroom apartment, I compost, I make my own bread, I can food and prepare my own jelly, and I’m not too cowardly to ride a bike on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Thankfully, I now have this handbook to show me how to become such a person. Coyne and Knutzen live and farm just two neighborhoods away from my own, and their accessible guide to “revolutionary home economics” and “livestock in the city,” is not only inspiring, it’s also practical and useful. This time next year, I might even own a goat or two…

More from A Year in Reading 2008

is a staff writer and contributing editor for The Millions. She is the author of the novella If You're Not Yet Like Me, the New York Times bestselling novel, California, and Woman No. 17. She is the editor of Mothers Before: Stories and Portraits of Our Mothers As We Never Saw Them.

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