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Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage
160 pages; Knopf
Using diary entries, flashbacks and short selections from other writers, Shapiro examines her 18-year marriage to M. A former war correspondent, M. has struggled to survive as a filmmaker—a career change that Shapiro begged him to make, fearing for his safety. Now, she feels both guilty and grateful, worried about the toll this choice has taken on her husband, especially as her own career thrives. Shapiro's examination of marital decisions like this one—loaded with long-term consequences—is what makes this memoir so intimate, so wise and, at times, so devastating. She tells their story in collage, touching on decluttering efforts, past health scares with their son, fears about finances, and even battles with an intensely destructive woodpecker. Trying to figure out how she and M. have arrived at this point in their lives—a point of both happiness and regret—Shapiro realizes, "Change even one moment, and the whole thing unravels. The narrative thread ... spools and unspools, loops around and returns again and again to the same spot." A meditative masterpiece.
— Kelly McMasters