Recently, I read a stunning and gorgeous novella called ALL THE WORDS, by Maria Frances Brandt. I cannot recommend this book more highly. Brandt’s characters reminded me of myself and of the people I care about, at our best and at our most yearning. These characters struggle, each in their own way, to articulate all the necessary words to each other and to themselves. And their struggle is rendered, in Brandt’s careful and caring hand, artistically and dramatically. In this lyrically lush and beautifully cadenced novella about a family’s love and loss, words are, paradoxically, precious and scarce. Sentences start but sputter out; mouths go mute; memories, both allusive and elusive, tease then disappear, only to reappear as fragmented textual ghosts, italicized and erupting throughout the course of this family’s journey—a journey from trauma to understanding, and, ultimately, to a kind of acceptance. Such a story arc is easy enough to describe, but painstakingly difficult to render dramatically and truthfully. But Brandt pulls it off with élan and intelligence and, best of all, the crafty instincts of a natural storyteller.
I am so fortunate to be reading with this remarkable writer next week in Brooklyn, on Thursday, Aug, 18th, at Pete’s Candy Store, 6 PM. Also sharing work that evening will be Mirene Arsanios, Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, and and Emily Brandt. It will be a lovely late-summer event. I hope you’ll join us to celebrate.
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