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“‘Why can’t she get over it?’ ‘Why can’t she just move on?’ Karen Stefano will make you understand exactly why. In this taut, riveting memoir, Stefano brings you into the life of a woman in the wake of a violent assault. Tortured by what-ifs and the terrifying awareness of her own vulnerability, Stefano becomes obsessed with knowing all she can about the compounding forces that create her ‘habit of fear.’ Arresting, compelling, her journey culminates in an unexpected grace that strangely blooms out of that awful assault. This story is necessary and unforgettable―and arrives at just the right time.” —Samantha Dunn, author of Not By Accident

On a summer night in 1984, nineteen-year-old UC Berkeley sophomore Karen Thomas leaves her uniformed patrol job and walks home alone in darkness. At the threshold of her apartment a man assaults her at knife point. After a soul-chilling struggle, she manages to escape.

Though she is left traumatized by her assault and the subsequent trial of her attacker, she herself goes on to become a criminal defense lawyer, defending those accused of crimes as heinous as the one committed against her.

Fast forward to 2014, thirty years after her assault, when her life, once again, appears to be crumbling. As she stumbles her way through the days navigating a dying marriage, devastating financial loss, and an elderly mother slipping into dementia, she becomes fascinated by her own anxiety and PTSD. Why does the body remember what the mind tries so desperately to forget? Her questions prompt a delayed obsession with her assailant: What became of him? What is he doing now? She begins a quest of excavation, determined to track him down.

What she discovers is life altering.

What A Body Remembers is an honest, from-the-gut account of one woman’s journey to regain her power and confidence―a journey that continues to this day.

Trees

By Bud Smith

Essay

Good Luck: Episode Twenty-Five

 

“When Henry Hudson sailed up through the Narrows between Long and Staten Islands in 1609 and anchored in the upper bay almost opposite old Communipaw, and he looked over the surrounding country and, as his gaze fell upon the green plains and pleasantly wooded hills stretching away toward the setting sun, he declared his enthusiasm that it was ‘as pleasant a land as one need tread upon.'”

 

He was looking at Jersey City.

 

Pleasantly wooded hills stretching away towards the setting sun. Damn.

As pleasant a land as one need tread upon, he said.

Balli Kaur Jaswal is the guest. Her new novel, The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters, is available from William Morrow. It is the official April 2019 pick of The Nervous Breakdown Book Club.

 

Jaswal is the author of Inheritance, which won the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelist Award in 2014 and was adapted into a film at the Singapore International Festival of the Arts in 2017. Her second novel Sugarbread was a finalist for the 2015 inaugural Epigram Books Fiction Prize and the 2018 Singapore Literature Prize.

Her third novel Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (Harper Collins/William Morrow) was released internationally to critical acclaim in March 2017. Translation rights to this novel have been sold in France, Spain, Italy, Israel, Poland, Germany, Sweden, Greece, China, Brazil and Estonia. Film rights to Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows have been acquired by Ridley Scott’s production company, Scott Free Productions and Film Four in the UK. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows was also picked by Reese Witherspoon’s book club and The Girly Book Club in 2018.

Jaswal’s short fiction and non-fiction writing have appeared in the UK Sunday Express, Cosmopolitan MagazineThe New York Times, Harpers Bazaar, Conde Nast Traveller and Best Australian Short Stories, among other publications and periodicals. She has travelled widely to appear in international writers festivals to conduct workshops and lectures on creative writing, pursuing an artistic career, the power of storytelling, global citizenship and social justice advocacy through literature. A former writing fellow at the University of East Anglia, Jaswal has taught creative writing at Yale-NUS College and Nanyang Technological University where she is currently pursuing a PhD.

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