This week on the r.kv.r.y. blog, I’m excited to feature the work of Jessica Handler, author of the fine essay Hungry from our fall/winter issue. I’ve long been an admirer of Jessica’s work. Let me see if I can articulate what impresses me the most about her writing. I’ll write as if I’m blurbing her book: “Jessica Handler has an amazing ability to distill a moment by taking us through the perfect combination of past events and the minute dissection of all things internal–especially engaging when read in her assured storyteller form.” Wait–that sounds like artspeak gobbledygook, doesn’t it? Clearly, I’m having a difficult time doing what she does so well (and by all appearances, effortlessly). Perhaps the best way to understand my rambling attempt at description is to read one of her marvelous essays or her moving memoir, Invisible Sisters.
In addition to Hungry, you can read her excellent short essay To the Moon in Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction.
If you prefer to listen to her mellow, assured, dulcet voice, I recommend this link to an interview on Georgia Public Radio.
Her blog has links to many others and you can visit that here: Swimming in the trees.
And I highly recommend her memoir Invisible Sisters, which can be purchased here.
Here is the book’s write up: “When Jessica Handler was eight years old, her younger sister Susie was diagnosed with leukemia. To any family, the diagnosis would have been upending, but to the Handlers, whose youngest daughter Sarah had been born with a rare congenital blood disorder, it was an unimaginable verdict. By the time Jessica Handler turned nine, she had begun to introduce herself as the “well sibling;” and her family had begun to come apart.
Invisible Sisters is Handler’s powerfully told story of coming of age—as the daughter of progressive Jewish parents who move south to participate in the social-justice movement of the 1960s; as a healthy sister living in the shadow of her siblings’ illness; and as a young woman struggling to step out of the shadow of her sisters’ deaths, to find and redefine herself anew. With keen-eyed sensitivity, Handler’s brave account explores family love and loss, and what it takes not just to survive, but to keep living.”
I’m proud and honored to have Jessica’s awesome essay appear in my first issue as r.kv.r.y.’s editor.