At a reading in Manhattan, I once heard author Susan Shapiro say that it's easier for her to write memoirs ("Five Men Who Broke My Heart" and "Lighting Up: How I Stopped Smoking, Drinking, and Everything Else I Loved in Life Except Having Sex") than it is writing fiction. I believe she put it, "Fiction kills me." After reading "What's Never Said," I understood. Shapiro, in creating her characters Lila and Daniel, the naive MFA student and the suffering older professor, gave them such intense needs, so much desire, greed and love, indeed, and so much soul, she had to have experienced something like a death either in bringing them to life or in letting them go at the end of the book.
A love story spanning decades, not only between Lila, the innocent Midwestern protégé and Daniel, her poetry professor, but between Lila and New York City, where she runs to escape her family and high school sweetheart, and where she runs to find the father she lost at a young age. Psychology plays its own role throughout "What's Never Said," but the story never slows. Shapiro stays true to her fast-paced dialogue, and the humor, sarcasm and wit she's known for in her writing. It comes out in Lila and Daniel's relationship, in their best friends, their rivals, and in their parents, both living and dead.
I recommend "What's Never Said" for its look into the poetry/MFA/literary journal world in NYC in the 1980's. I recommend it for the tender, if not beautiful, way it shows life after losing a parent, and I recommend it to anyone who's in love, has ever been in love, or who longs for love. You will find both comfort and the truth in this book.
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