Why do we cry? How do we cry? And what does it mean? A scientific, cultural, artistic examination by a young poet on the cusp of motherhood.
'A deeply felt, and genuinely touching, book' Esme Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias
'Spellbinding and propulsive' Leni Zeumas, author of Red Clocks
'The Crying Book is a rigorous and urgent work but it reads like an intimate gift' Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf
'This book began five years ago with an idle idea about what it might look like to make a map of every place I'd ever cried, an idea I carried into conversation with friends, not knowing, how many years and pages would grow around it, not knowing how that growth would change the way I viewtears'
During a period of intense grief that coincides with the birth of her first child, acclaimed poet Heather Christle starts to research the deeply human impulse to shed tears. As Christle looks to art, nature, science, history and her own experience to understand crying in all its colours and textures - so she slowly begins to find new ways of understanding life.
Honest, intelligent, rapturous and surprising, THE CRYING BOOK is a poignant, personal tribute to the astonishing strangeness of tears and the startling resilience of joy.
In The Crying Book, Heather Christle makes a poignant and piercing examination of the phenomenon of tears - exhaustive, yes, but also open-ended, such that I was left clutching this book to my chest with wonder, asking myself when the last time was that I cried, and why. A deeply felt, and genuinely touching, book. - Esme Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias
The Crying Book is spellbinding and propulsive - the map of a luminous mind in conversation with books, songs, friends, scientific theories, literary histories, her own jagged joy, and despair. Heather Christle is a visionary writer
This is a book about crying, yes, but secretly it's a book about everything: pain, sleep, joy, despair, birth, art, exile, atrocity, language, weather, fish. Christle's genius - a word I've never before written to describe a living author - is her ability to see the miraculous and strange lines connecting everything to everything: 'neither parallel nor perpendicular,' she writes, but simply 'arcs that momentarily intersect before traveling on. The Crying Book is a rigorous and urgent work, but it reads like an intimate gift
This is a wonderful and profound look at the act of crying - something human and yet hidden, common and yet mysterious. I found myself reading with a thirst for the tears Heather Christle collects here - instances within literature, film, history, and the author's own life all add up to a greater understanding of what makes us human.
Poet Christle set out to make a map of every place she had cried. Instead, she ended up with this exploration of tears throughout history, in art and literature, and in her own life . . . The cumulative effect hits the mark, and readers are sure to be moved to tears themselves. This is a lovely meditation on life and death through the lens of tears, both those spurred by grief and those by joy - Booklist