cover image Landslide: True Stories

Landslide: True Stories

Minna Zallman Proctor. Catapult, $16.95 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-936787-61-6

In this collection of interrelated personal essays, translator and critic Proctor (Do You Hear What I Hear?) explores memory, loss, and family through her relationship with her deceased mother and her experiences raising children after a divorce. She recalls her mother’s decade-long battle with cancer and reflects on the intangible losses that death brings—for example, the forgotten details of stories that died with their teller. The book’s central narrative concerns these stories and their inaccuracies. The author remembers being hurt that her mother did not attend her high school graduation, but later learned that her mother did attend and stayed hidden out of fear that Proctor would be embarrassed by her presence. Past and present frequently collide, as when Proctor compares one of her son’s emotional outbursts (“I know that he is really crying because I divorced his father”) to her own adolescent rebellion, or when she realizes that she relates more to her mother than to her younger self. The daughter of a devout Episcopalian and a lapsed Jew, Proctor also explores faith and its potential for providing stability in a life unmoored by uncertainty. She has crafted an affecting elegy for a complicated and contradictory mother and an insightful ode to the unknowable. Agent: Rebecca Carter, Janklow & Nesbit (U.K.). (Sept.)