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Elisa Albert - book author

ELISA ALBERT, author of The Book of Dahlia and a collection of short stories, has written for NPR, Tin House, Commentary, Salon, and the Rumpus. She grew up in Los Angeles and now lives in upstate New York with her family.

Elisa Albert is the author of books: After Birth, The Book of Dahlia, How This Night Is Different: Stories, Freud's Blind Spot: 23 Original Essays on Cherished, Estranged, Lost, Hurtful, Hopeful, Complicated Siblings, Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, The Farm in the Green Mountains, La Femme de Gilles

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01
A widely acclaimed young writer’s fierce new novel, in which childbirth and new motherhood are as high stakes a proving ground as any combat zone

A year has passed since Ari gave birth to Walker, though it went so badly awry she has trouble calling it “birth” and still she can't locate herself in her altered universe. Amid the strange, disjointed rhythms of her days and nights and another impending winter in upstate New York, Ari is a tree without roots, struggling to keep her branches aloft.

When Mina, a one-time cult musician — older, self-contained, alone, and nine-months pregnant —moves to town, Ari sees the possibility of a new friend, despite her unfortunate habit of generally mistrusting women. Soon they become comrades-in-arms, and the previously hostile terrain seems almost navigable.

With piercing insight, purifying anger, and outrageous humor, Elisa Albert issues a wake-up call to a culture that turns its new mothers into exiles, and expects them to act like natives. Like Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin and Anne Enright’s The Gathering, this is a daring and resonant novel from one of our most visceral writers.
02
From the author of the acclaimed story collection How This Night Is Different comes a fearless, arresting, outrageously funny exploration of one young woman's terminal illness.
03
Elisa Albert's debut story collection marks the arrival of an extraordinary new voice in fiction. In "How This Night Is Different," Albert boldly illuminates the struggles of young, disaffected Jews to find spiritual fulfillment. With wit and wisdom, she confronts themes -- self-deprecation, stressful family relationships, sex, mortality -- that have been hallmarks of her literary predecessors. But Albert brings a decidedly fresh, iconoclastic, twenty-first-century attitude to the table.Holidays, gatherings, and rites of passage provide the backdrop for these ten provocative stories. The characters who populate "How This Night Is Different" are ambivalent, jaded, and in serious want of connection. As they go through the motions of familial duty and religious observance, they find themselves continually longing for more. In prose that is by turns hilarious and harrowing, Albert details the quest for acceptance, a happier view of the past, and above all the possibility of a future.

From the hormonally charged concentration camp teen tour in "The Living" to the sexually frustrated young mother who regresses to bat mitzvah-aged antics in "Everything But," and culminating with the powerful and uproariously apropos finale of "Etta or Bessie or Dora or Rose," "How This Night Is Different" is sure to titillate, charm, and profoundly resonate with anyone who's ever felt conflicted about his or her faith, culture, or place in the world.
04
Relationships with our siblings stretch, as an old saying has it, all the way from the cradle to the grave. Few bonds in life are as significant, as formative, as lasting, and as frequently overlooked as those we share with our brothers and sisters.

In this stellar, first-of-its-kind anthology, contemporary writers explore the rich and varied landscape of sibling experience, illuminating the essential, occasionally wonderful, often difficult ways our brothers and sisters—or lack thereof—shape us. There are those who love and cherish their siblings, those who abhor and avoid them, and everyone in between.
05
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In 1967, Joan Didion wrote an essay called Goodbye to All That, a work of such candid and penetrating prose that it soon became the gold standard for personal essays. Like no other story before it, Didion's tale of loving and leaving New York captured the mesmerizing allure Manhattan has always had for writers, poets, and wandering spirits.

In this captivating collection, 28 writers take up Didion's literary legacy by sharing their own New York stories. Their essays often begin as love stories do, with the passion of something newly discovered-the crush of subway crowds, the streets filled with manic energy, and the certainty that this is the only place on Earth where one can become exactly who she is meant to be.

They also share the grief that comes when the metropolis loses its magic and the pressures of New York's frenetic life wear thin on even the most fervent dwellers. As friends move away, rents soar, and love-still- remains just out of reach, each writer's goodbye to New York is singular and universal, like New York itself.

With Cheryl Strayed, Dani Shapiro, Emma Straub, Ann Hood, and more.
06
The Farm in the Green Mountains is the story of a family finding home halfway across the world from their homeland.
Alice Herdan-Zuckmayer and her husband, the playwright Carl Zuckmayer, lived at the heart of intellectual life in Weimar, Germany, counting among their circle Stefan Zweig, Alma Mahler, and Bertolt Brecht. After Carl's work fell afoul of the Nazis, however, the couple and their two daughters were forced to flee Europe. Los Angeles didn't suit them and neither did New York, but then a chance stroll in the Vermont woods led them to Backwoods Farm, the eighteenth-century house where they would live for the next five years. In Europe, the Zuckmayers were accustomed to servants; in Vermont, they found themselves joyfully building chicken coops and refereeing fights between unruly ducks. Despite the endless work a new farm required and brutal winters that triggered bouts of melancholy, Alice discovered that in America she had found her native land.
07
"A haunting, slim novel which has the mesmeric inevitability of a classical tragedy." --Independent on Sunday

La Femme de Gilles
tells the story of a fatal love triangle—written on the eve of World War II.

Set among the dusty lanes and rolling valleys of rural 1930s Belgium, La Femme de Gilles is the tale of a young mother, Elisa, whose world is overturned when she discovers that her husband, Gilles, has fallen in love with her younger sister, Victorine. Devastated, Elisa unravels.

As controlled as Elena Ferrante's The Days of Abandonment and as propulsive as Jenny Offill's Dept. of Speculation, La Femme de Gilles is a hauntingly contemporary story of desperation and lust and obsession, from an essential early-feminist writer.

Just after her novel was first published in 1937, Madeleine Bourdouxhe disassociated herself from her publisher (which had been taken over by the Nazis) and spent most of World War II in Brussels, actively working for the resistance. Though she continued to write, her work was largely overlooked by history . . . until now.