The Trick is to Keep Breathing: A Novel

This inventive first novel explores the widespread problem of female depression. A 27-year-old drama teacher named Joy Stone is losing her grip on the world. The problems of everyday living accumulate and begin to torture the narrator, who blames her problems not on her work or on the accidental death of her illict lover, but on herself. She reads horoscopes, plucks hairs, holds conversations inside and outside herself. A terrible memory tries to unfold but is resisted. Family and friends take on monstrous or pitiful guises; food threatens to become a major character. Clutching at the wrong things, the trick is to find those that let life go on. As things seen, things bought, and things said become obsessions, so the author conjures up the homely or horrifying world of litter in which the reader, like the heroine, lives.