I’m ending up the year reading two terrific books, Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta and Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds. The Spiotta is amazingly well written, rich, funny, learned, linguistically sturdy, and tonally fresh. The book’s intriguing structure is too complicated to go into here, but Spiotta did a wonderful interview on “Fresh Air” that will explain everything, if you’re interested. And you should be. I’ve always loved Sharon Olds’s poetry but her new book has kept me up reading at night. The poems circle around a central trauma, a mid-life divorce, and take the narrator through all the stages of this profound grief. “Poem for the Breasts” was revelatory to me, speaking as it does from a feminine point of view about objects I have given much thought to myself. Like the book as a whole, like Olds’s entire work, the poem is generous, honest, brave, witty, and beautiful, a paean to the delights of heterosexual love.
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