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Book details
  • SubGenre:General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:160
  • eBook ISBN:9781937543198

The Secret Life of Objects

by Dawn Raffel

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'Sometimes things shatter,' Dawn Raffel writes in The Secret Life of Objects. 'More often they just fade.' But in this evocative memoir, moments from the past do not fade—they breathe on the page, rendering a striking portrait of a woman through her connections to the people she’s loved, the places she been, what’s been lost, and what remains. In clear, beautiful prose, Raffel reveals the haunting qualities of the objects we gather, as well as the sustaining and elusive nature of memory itself.
Dawn Raffel talks about her newest book: “The Secret Life of Objects is my life story told through some of my possessions. Each chapter is a vignette about a simple object — a coffee mug, a vase, a pair of earrings, my mom's prayer book… Each object encapsulates a passage in my life in a way that, I think, resonates for a lot of people. “One morning, I was drinking my coffee out of the mug that I take from the cupboard every day, even though I have dozens of other mugs. I always pick this mug because I took it from my mother's house after she died, and there's a whole story in the mug about my mom and my aunt, and I feel like I am having my coffee with them. And then I realized that my house is full of objects like this—things that don't mean anything to anyone else but that are filled with memories and insights and longings. So I started writing—very frankly—about my objects, and before I knew it I had enough to fill a book. “Everyone who hears about this project or has read an excerpt in a literary magazine has wanted to tell me about their own objects. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that women want to share their stories. Talking about our objects give us a unique way to do this, and a way to leave a record for our children. Oh, and by the way, the illustrations are by my younger son, Sean Evers.”
About the author
Dawn Raffel is the author of two story collections, Further Adventures in the Restless Universeand In the Year of Long Division, and a novel, Carrying the Body. Her fiction has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, BOMB, Conjunctions, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, The Quarterly, NOON, The Antioch Review, and numerous other periodicals and anthologies. She has taught in the MFA program at Columbia University, and at Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia, and Montreal; she'll teach in Vilnius, Lithuania this summer. She is an editor at large for Reader’s Digest, and the editor of The Literarian, the online journal for the Center for Fiction.