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The Big Book Of The Dead


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Product Details

Table of Contents

I. Friends of My Youth, Mostly in New Jersey 1958 - 1978
The Alpha
The Driving Instructor
The Perfect Couple
Two First Cousins
Their Mother
The Eye Doctor
The Fourth
The Cat with Nine Lives
The Man Who Could Take Off His Thumb
The Painter
The Mah Jongg Player
The Queen of New Jersey
The Diplomat (NEW)
The Golf Pro
The Social Worker
The Second Cousin Once Removed
The Young Uncle
The Neighbor
The Classmate
The Big Sister
The Virgin
The Mensch
The Thin White Duke
The Camp Director
The Tomb of the Unknown Yogi (NEW)
My Advisor
The Golden Boy
The Role Model
The Competition
The Showgirl
The Professor of Desire (NEW)

II. The Austin Years, Including New Orleans 1976-2009
The Jeweler
The Carpenter
The Warrior Poetess
The Publisher
The Clown
The Humanoid from Houston
The Junkie
The Skater
The Brother-in-Law
The Jewish Floridian
Who Dat
The Counselor
Three Lost Boys
The Art Star
The King of the Condo
The Photographer
The Rancher
The Texan
The Neatnik
The Democrat
The Wunderkind
The Young Hercules
The Dentist
The Sikh
The Counselor
The Second-Grade Teacher
The Velveteen Rabbit
The Werewolf
The Queen of the Scene
The Volunteer
The All-American
The Father of the Bride
The Belle of the Ball
The Southern Writer
The Paid Professional Codependent
The Bon Vivant
Portrait of a Lady
The Statistic
The Man of Letters
The Old Rake
The Realtor
The Graduate

III. We Were Ten Years in Pennsylvania 1999-2009
The Mother of Four
The Quiet Guy
The Bad Brother
The Little Brother
The Conscientious Objector
The Last Brother
The Last Straw
The Bad Influence
The Nurse
The Burning Man
The R.A.
The Soldier
The House
The Family Guy
The Baby
The Maid
The Man of Honor
The Fairy Festival (NEW)
The Little Bird
The Montessori Teacher
The Ambassador's Wife
The Playwright

IV. Love in the Time of Baltimore 2009 - 2018
The Belligerent Stream
The Grandmother-General
The Southern Gentleman
The Squash Player
The Assistant Superintendent
His Brother
Her Son
The Artist
The French Horn Player
The Big Man
The Very Tiny Baby
Two Slips of the Knife
The Perfect Friend (NEW)
The Lacrosse Player (NEW)
The Cult Member (NEW)
His Dog
The Talent
Jack (NEW)
The Pirate
Dr. Food (NEW)
The Suicides (NEW)
The A Student (NEW)
The Happy Man
The Babydaddy
The Innocents
The Jews (NEW)
The Leader of the Pack
El Suegro
The VIP Lounge
The Living

Promotional Information


  • New In Paperback, People
  • Targeted outreach to social media influencers
  • Author promotion through website at http://marionwinik.com

    Events Schedule:
  • Event in Baltimore for launch

    Tour Schedule:
  • 9/17/19 7:00pm: Launch at The Ivy Bookshop, Baltimore, MD
  • 9/18/19 7:00pm: Faculty reading, with Jane Delury, Betsy Boyd and Steven Leyva, at the University of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD
  • 9/26/19 6:00pm: Reading, in conversation with Lori Feathers, and book signing at Interabang Books, Dallas, TX
  • 9/27/19 6:30pm: Reading and book signing at Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX
  • 9/29/19 2:30pm: Reading, in conversation with Naomi Shihab Nye, and book signing at BookWoman, Austin, TX
  • 10/10/19 7:00pm: Reading and book signing at Curious Iguana, Frederick, MD
  • 10/22/19 7:00pm: #YeahYouWrite Author Series at Bo's Kitchen & Bar Room, New York, NY
  • 11/1/19 6:30pm: Reading and book signing at One More Page Books, Arlington, VA
  • 11/12/19 6:00pm: Reading and book signing at the Towson Prize for Literature Reading at Towson University, Towson, MD
  • About the Author

    MARION WINIK is the author of First Comes Love and ten other books. She writes the Bohemian Rhapsody column at BaltimoreFishbowl.com and is the host of Baltimore WYPR's The Weekly Reader.


    Praise for The Big Book of the Dead

    "The image that suffused my reading was one of stringing pearls. Each pearl is gorgeous and luminescent . . . Each of them seemed to me better than the one previous to it, and I continued reading even as I wiped away tears . . . Regardless of the proximity of her relation to Winik's subjects, each of these pieces is written with gorgeous turns of phrase and her recognition of the quiet dignity of their lives." -Lorraine Berry, Star-Tribune (Minneapolis)

    "Marion Winik's The Big Book of the Dead is a masterclass in flash fiction. It is a grand tapestry of life that you get to see created thread by thread . . . Cathartic and strangely comforting." -Rachel Gonzalez, Paperback Paris Praise for The Baltimore Book of the Dead

    A Finalist for the 2019 NAIBA Book of the Year in Nonfiction
    A PBS NewsHour Best Book of the Year
    Winner of the 2019 Towson Prize for Literature
    One of the Top Ten Books of the Year, The Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)

    "An affecting collection of brief, incisive portraits of departed figures both public and private." -People

    "You'll want to read The Baltimore Book of the Dead as slowly as possible because every observation is a marvel, every sentence a heartbreak or a revelation of joy. This book is both brief and miraculous, and it will be finished before you're ready to let it go. Like life." -Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth

    "Crystalline remembrances . . . By turns reverent and wry, intimate and universal, these pieces capture the essence of friends, neighbors, a tiny baby, a young man lost to fentanyl, and even a few celebrities . . . [Winik's] mission is not to be morbid but to find a place in our collective conversation for grief, which might be one of the last social taboos . . . A welcome salve to all of us, and encouragement to honor the people we've lost who are forever with us." -Oprah.com

    "Few among us, when we die, will be lucky enough to be eulogized as intriguingly as the individuals in Marion Winik's The Glen Rock Book of the Dead. The slender and elegantly illustrated volume chronicles the stories of some 50 individuals the author once knew, compressing their lives and personal significance into brief, two-page essays. The eighth book from this critically acclaimed writer and poet is a sort of modern-day version of Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology - the almost century-old classic that told the tale of a town in the voices of its deceased." -Susan Carpenter, The Los Angeles Times

    "Spending time with dead people might make you wonder: Do I want to take this trip? You do, when Winik is telling the stories, two-page hits that read like flash nonfiction, highlight reels of what these people have meant to her, and sometimes to American culture, over the past 60 years . . . Winik's voice is strong and clear, as if she has been called to sing these paeans and she will do it, she's honored to do it, but she's going to do it her way, with elation and sadness . . . Death is always in season, and it takes someone of Winik's good humor and willingness to say, in essence, see that big door there? The one we are all going to walk through? Let's just take a little look now, and know you will be remembered, that you are loved." -Nancy Rommelmann, Newsday

    "Feast on Marion Winik's jewelbox of a book filled with gold nuggets of prose and a fevered passion for life even though much is an homage to death itself. Every sentence is a carefully considered slam dunk . . . Breathless, heartbreaking, invigorating." -Literary Hub

    "With the same candid and humorous writing style she fine-tuned through her years as an All Things Considered commentator, Winik memorializes the departed in short essays that evoke a tender sense of connection in readers." -Lauren LaRocca, Baltimore Magazine

    "Every so often I stumble across books where my first reaction is regret. How have I never heard of this writer? My second reaction is a hunger to read all he or she has written. This does not happen often enough so, please know I do not toss this sort of praise lightly. Marion Winik is one of the most elegant, evocative and incisive writers I have encountered . . . Her gift is using the fewest words to capture their spirits, and though as the title broadcasts, this is a book about the dead, it is a glorious account of living." -Jacqeline Cutler, Newark Star-Ledger

    "Empathy figures in Marion Winik's The Baltimore Book of the Dead (Counterpoint, Oct.), along with her sharp eye and wicked wit. This sequel to The Glen Rock Book of the Dead has more achingly beautiful and succinct obituaries of the people (and a few pets) from Winik's wide, idiosyncratic circle of family, friends, colleagues, lovers, and enemies. This superfast read will spur rereading and the terrible wish that more people in Winik's circle would expire just so she could memorialize them. " -Library Journal, Editors' Pick

    "In writing about these dozens of deaths, the author is writing about life in general, how quickly it can change and how long a memory can persist, and her life in particular, 'how big ideas about art and revolution were so easily infected with the stupid romance of self-destruction' . . . Insightful pieces with a cumulative impact." -Kirkus Reviews

    "[An] unconventional though captivating blend of memoir and biography . . . Throughout these understated portraits, Winik writes with a delightfully light and nuanced hand." -Publishers Weekly

    "This slim, deeply moving book is full of elegies that bear witness to the departed and remind us of the beauty and pain and complexity in every life, no matter how obscure. Marion Winik's prose is deceptively rich, suffused with quiet emotion and tender humor. She teaches us how to remember." -Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers and Mrs. Fletcher

    "Marion Winik's writing is always a wild and true marvel and never more so than in her latest work, The Baltimore Book of the Dead. With riveting compassion, she looks at all the love and the pain and the detritus that accumulates in the corners of all of our lives and pieces together something sad and lovely and new out of it." -Bill Clegg, author of Did You Ever Have a Family

    "Marion Winik is such an excellent writer that you will want to gobble up The Baltimore Book of the Dead, but you won't. After each chapter, you will pause and take a breath. You will have experienced the life and death of a stranger made friend, made familiar, through Winik's compassionate genius. Savor every word." -Abigail Thomas, author of What Comes Next and How to Like It

    Praise for The Glen Rock Book of the Dead

    "I read this book in one sitting. It's so beautiful, sad, interesting, funny, and true that I simply could not put it down. This is one cool book. Each chapter is about a dead person the author knew. The chapters are short and intense and riveting and beautifully written. Winik has many gifts as a writer, but one I appreciate the most is her ability to write about the hardest, darkest subjects with a light, knowing hand. Situations are bleak, but life is not. Life is hard and hilarious and good and complex and often, entirely inexplicable. Winik shows us that in this book. I love The Glen Rock Book of the Dead. I think you will too." -Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

    "Spoon River Anthology as told by a female Jack Kerouac." -This Week's Book

    "Although she's known many people who died young, in sad or unsavory ways, the book is uplifting, funny and deep. This is partly because Winik resists the temptation to be overly reverent or poetic, though there are plenty of graceful passages. Her fascinating, tiny tributes tell the bare-assed truth about relationships while coming together to create a portrait of Winik's own imperfect, love-filled life." -Marcia Menter, More

    "Winik offers memoir, prose and warmth - expressed with precise evocative details." -Diane Scharper, Baltimore Sun

    "The Glen Rock Book of the Dead is a quiet tour de force from former Austinite Marion Winik." -Mike Shea, Texas Monthly

    "I only hope that Winik will continue to write, and share her insightful stories with the world. If that requires her to use a sixth sense, talk to dead people, reminisce old times, I won't be one to judge." -Jess Krout, Hanover Evening Sun

    "The truth, so tragic and so exhilarating, is the gift Marion Winik offers up with honesty and compassion in this incomparable book." -Harvey Freedenberg, Harrisburg Patriot-News's Sunday magazine

    "If you have read First Comes Love-Winik's memoir about her marriage to a gay man and his death from AIDS-you may imagine what you are in for: equal parts laceration and exhilaration, 100% brilliance. To say there has never been a book like this doesn't begin to get at my admiration for what Winik does here-I'm dazzled by the highwire act of her writing, her willingness to go deep and then go deeper, and her immense wisdom about life . . . If you have the guts to read this book-easily the most powerful document I've read in years-you will almost surely make your own list of the lost. You can't not. The Glen Rock Book of the Dead is that haunting, that beautiful, that necessary." -Jesse Kornbluth, HeadButler.com

    "Much of literature is elegiac in nature. Much of Winik's propulsive, come-clean writing has been about coping with loss. So it makes sense that her newest essay collection comprises tributes to her dead . . . Bold and funny, Winik is the queen of pithiness and punch, and the micro-lives she has created here are far more difficult to forge than their brevity and blithe tone might suggest." -Donna Seaman, Booklist

    "Alongside the numerous deaths from AIDS and the poignant lament that there are no gay couples of Winik's generation, there is a house ravaged by Katrina, a soldier lost in Iraq, the World Trade Center, Winik imbuing each departed with a dignity and grace everyone deserves in death but might not have had in life . . . Death comes, they say, like a thief in the night. It comes for all of us; if we're lucky, there is a Marion Winik in our lives to document who we were and what we meant as we cool our heels in the VIP lounge of the afterlife. We all deserve it, and, as evidenced by this book, no one knows that more keenly than Marion Winik." -Melanie Haupt, Austin Chronicle

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