The Glen Rock Book of the Dead

November 2008By Comments

The Glen Rock Book of the Dead is a quiet tour de force from former Austinite Marion Winik, who ruminates on the meaning and messages to be culled from the deaths (and lives) of fifty-plus individuals who have crossed her path. Within a slim 108 pages, she provides spot-on epitaphs (with a nod to Spoon River Anthology) for childhood friends (“The Virgin”), in-laws (“The Bad Brother”), and troubled acquaintances (“The Burning Man”). Winik has a gift for the telling phrase—it requires only a slight squint to visualize the main character in “The Dentist,” for example, who, post-divorce, “had the kind of sudden insight into his life that requires shiny vehicles and foreign travel.” Having notoriously laid herself bare in previous memoirs (First Comes Love chronicled her heroin addiction and her husband’s death from AIDS), Winik proves equally adept at exposing the souls of others. Counterpoint, $20

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