"There's often a gap between what we're trying to say and what we are able to say. Sometimes I'm successful and sometimes I fail. Sometimes it's painful and sometimes I get into that space where it feels right. That's the high."
We can't always be in Italy, so we love the books that can transport us there. Jessie Chaffee's debut novel, Florence in Ecstasy (Unnamed Press), and Minna Zallman Proctor's collection of essays, Landslide (Catapult), both feature American characters who go to Italy to get away only to find themselves even more tethered to home. Hannah, the protagonist in Florence in Ecstasy, embeds herself in the local community, but has to confront the internal ruthlessness of an eating disorder. With poetic and incisive prose, Chaffee gives us access to an emotional world seldom explored with such grace. In Landslide, we follow Proctor on her trips to Italy and back, as she sifts through her complicated relationship with her mother, who passed away fifteen years after a cancer diagnosis. The essays, though they form a kind of elegy, are warm, humorous, and probing of life's absurdities and joys.
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