The Glen Rock Book of the Dead

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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