5 Powerful New Memoirs
These new memoirs will wake you up "to the beauty of every fleeting moment" and make you rethink what we're "really looking for in love." Plus: a few extra titles in the genre you might have missed.
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Once We Were Sisters
256 pages; Penguin Books
Available at:Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound
At 37, Kohler received a devastating phone call: Her only sibling, Maxine, had been killed halfway around the world in Johannesburg. The "accident" was highly suspicious. Maxine's violent husband, Carl, was at the wheel when he ran their car off the road. The police suspected attempted murder-suicide, but no one could prove wrongdoing. Carl survived and walked free. "I have tried again and again to imagine her last moments," Kohler writes, "as though, if I could put them into words, they would not happen." Consumed by grief, rage and guilt—for not rescuing her sister from an abusive marriage—Kohler spent decades asking what-ifs and whys, interrogating the way they were raised. The sisters grew up financially privileged in South Africa, yet their lives were marked by loss: the early death of their distant father, the alcoholic withdrawal of their mother, the bloody injustice that scarred their homeland. Educated abroad, both sisters married young, to accomplished men. Sheila's husband flagrantly cheated; Maxine's husband beat her. Neither woman dared to stand up for herself. After Maxine's death, Sheila went on to a happy second marriage and a distinguished literary career. It's fitting that the book is written in the present tense, because her sister is forever with her. Their relationship changes shape yet lingers, as do the important questions about women and violence.
— Dawn Raffel