What passes for romance.

It’s quiet and rainy here in Portland, and I’m taking a few minutes to think about writing before I start in on my freelance work for the day. I’m extremely grateful to have this work even though I am wistful for the days where I worked furiously on the new novel, because I loved that book so much, but also because I believed it had the potential to be sold, that I could live for a few months off its proceeds if I could just finish it already. But it is often hard to concentrate on the writing of things when you fear poverty, and when a project shows up you cannot say no to it, you cannot even consider it, in fact, you must give into it, if that makes any sense, give into the making of money, and that is what I did. And now I shall live to eat another day, and also to have health care, which, at the very least, will please my mother.

So here I am in Maine missing my book as one would miss a close relative, while downstairs Kate sits in the living room working on her memoir, her dog napping nearby in a chair, and Brendan sits in the dining room working on his screenplay. Both rooms have big windows and high ceilings and are lit by the outside, even on gloomy days like this one. They are perfect writing rooms, in my opinion. Kate and Brendan both work all morning, then take a break at eleven in the morning, for an hour-long walk, from which they return with rosy cheeks and enough energy and enthusiasm to fuel the rest of their day.

Kate is in this place with her book where she will stop mid-conversation to make a note, usually on a sheet of blank white note paper. Some of these notes have coffee stains on them. (I am tempted to take pictures of these pieces of paper but they are not my notes to capture.) The whole world around her exists in relief to her writing. There is just her, and her book, and then there is her dog, and then cooking for the three of us, and a glass of wine or two in the evening, and then rest, enough rest to start it all over the next day.

I am extremely jealous of her at this moment, and have told her that a few times. I mean it as a compliment. Right now she is where we all want to be when we are working on a book. When you are in the thick of it, when you are completely absorbed in your book to the point where it feels liquid and warm around you, it is of great comfort. Which is not to say I feel uncomfortable here. I am sleeping so soundly; Maine is a narcotic. I am eating like a queen. I read early in the mornings and in the evenings too – I will probably read several books a week here. I take walks, too, down to the promenade. The city is beautiful, and spring is springing wherever you look.

I only meant that I want that feeling that Kate has, too. I am greedy, I suppose. Greedy to be complete.


Out now!

Kirkus Reviews gives it a starred review: "A sharp-tongued, sweet-natured masterpiece of Jewish family life." Find more praise from The New York Times, Fresh Air, All Things Considered, The Washington Post and more, right here. Order an autographed copy.
Download book club discussion questions.

And in paperback:

The Melting Season. Watch the trailer, or see coverage from Chicago Tribune, Marie Claire, O, New York Times, and more here. Buy an autographed copy from my favorite local independent bookstore, WORD Brooklyn!

The Kept Man. Watch the trailer, and read reviews from People, Time Out New York, Interview and more right here

Instant Love. Read coverage from O, New York, Daily Candy, and more here.

I am happy to come visit your book club in person or via phone or skype! Email me directly for more info.


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The New York Times
NYTBR: All that We Hold Dear
NYT Mag: The Unlikely Chef
No, I'm the Narrator
A Shelf-Obsessed Writer
One Dark Night in My Neighborhood
An Apartment Affair

Life Lessons from Turning 40

The Hairpin
My History of Being Fat

Wall Street Journal
Fictional Foods: No Empty Calories

My Election Day

The Forward
A Chat with My Dad about Delicatessen

The Week
My 6 Favorite Books with Overweight Protagonists

Publishers Weekly
The Most Dysfunctional Families in Literature

Largehearted Boy
Book Notes: The Middlesteins
On the Men We Meet, and What Their Music Means to Us
Antiheroines: MK Reed
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Antiheroines: Emily Flake
Antiheroines: Vanessa Davis
Antiheroines: Julia Wertz
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Book Notes: The Kept Man
Ryan from Hallelujah the Hills Interviews Me
I Interview Ryan from Hallelujah the Hills
Book Notes: Instant Love

Jewish Book Council
Different, but Special

The Rumpus
Where I've Laid My Head
How To Write a Book in Two Months: The Rumpus Interview with Cole Stryker
The Fates Will Find Their Way Review
The Rumpus Interview with David Goodwillie and Teddy Wayne
The Rumpus Interview with Kate Christensen
The Last Book I Loved: Everything Matters!

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Books you can dance to
Tracy Morgan cries for his mom -- and we cry, too

Poets & Writers
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Lauren Groff Profile
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The Rise of Small Presses
Wesley Stace Profile

Patrick Somerville Interview
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Maile Meloy Interview
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Village Voice
The 10 Best Things From 2011 To Listen To While Writing, According To Actual Authors

The Millions
A Year in Reading

How to Hunt for Architectural Salvage with the Designers of Spritzenhaus
Peter Loughrey Interview

No Baby Next Door, Please

Essay: Crossroads

The Awl
Flicked Off: In Which Two Ladies Do Yoga Then See 'Eat Pray Love'

Book Forum
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Five Chapters
The Last Movie

Double X
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The One Time I Needed Planned Parenthood
Big Book News #4
The Complete Story of How My Bike Got Stolen, How I Found it on Craigslist, and How I Got it Back
Mountain Backdrop: White Sands Missile Park
Big Book News #3
On Outlining Books
Advance Praise for The Kept Man
Shaving Jonny
The Big Book News #2
Artsy and Fartsy go to Coney Island
Blurry Pictures of Girls with Mustaches
Key Names from Instant Love
How Did I Miss the Hook?
Two Days in May
The Big Book News
Idiotarod 2005
Kiss Me on the Bus
Ronald Protests the RNC
Existential Crap
Happy Hour
Taco Hell
Idiotarod 2004: Race, Rest, Finish
Behave, Boys. Behave
26 Pics of People Kissing
All About George
September 11, 2001
My Imaginary Assistant Amanda

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