DEATH AND OTHER HOLIDAYS by Marci Vogel
There’s something to be said for small books about small lives. Whether it’s the comfort of recognising ourselves in ordinary characters, or just the welcome escape from the excess of hyper-confected fictional experience, I’ve really come to appreciate a slow, uneventful burn. In Death and Other Holidays, Marci Vogel charts a single year in the life of April, a young woman navigating the grief of losing her step-father, Wilson. Nothing exciting. No great revelations. No shocking twists. Just life.
Told as a series of beautifully-crafted vignettes, we get sometimes wry, sometimes funny, often insightful observations of a woman adrift. April must come to terms with having lost two fathers - one to suicide, one to cancer - while finding her own footing in life. A relationship blossoms, friends get married, her overbearing West Coast family gather for bastardised versions of Jewish holidays. Tinker with the details and she could well be any of us. All in all, an exercise is thoughtful, controlled storytelling.
Death and Other Holidays by Marci Vogel
Melville House, 2018