Grief Is for People

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Pub Date Feb 27 2024 | Archive Date Mar 27 2024


One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year: TIME, The Washington Post, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Publishers Weekly, Paste, The Millions, Kirkus Reviews, Lit Hub, Real Simple, Nylon, BookPage, The Story Exchange, Sunset, and Zibby Mag

Disarmingly witty and poignant, Sloane Crosley’s memoir explores multiple kinds of loss following the death of her closest friend.

How do we live without the ones we love? Grief Is for People is a deeply moving and suspenseful portrait of friendship, and a book about loss that is profuse with life. Sloane Crosley is one of our most renowned observers of contemporary behavior, and now the pathos that has been ever present in her trademark wit is on full display. After the pain and confusion of losing her closest friend to suicide, Crosley looks for answers in philosophy and art, hoping for a framework more useful than the unavoidable stages of grief.

For most of her adult life, Sloane and Russell worked together and played together as they navigated the corridors of office life, the literary world, and the dramatic cultural shifts in New York City. One day, Sloane’s apartment is broken into. Along with her most prized possessions, the thief makes off with her sense of security, leaving a mystery in its place.

When Russell dies exactly one month later, his suicide propels Sloane on a wild quest to right the unrightable, to explore what constitutes family and possession as the city itself faces the staggering toll of the pandemic.

Sloane Crosley’s search for truth is frank, darkly funny, and gilded with resounding empathy. Upending the “grief memoir,” Grief Is for People is a category-defying story of the struggle to hold on to the past without being consumed by it. A modern elegy, it rises precisely to console and challenge our notions of mourning during these grief-stricken times.

One of the Most Anticipated Books of the Year: TIME, The Washington Post, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Publishers Weekly, Paste, The Millions, Kirkus Reviews, Lit Hub, Real Simple, Nylon, BookPage, The Story...

A Note From the Publisher

Sloane Crosley is the author of the novels Cult Classic and The Clasp and three essay collections: Look Alive Out There and the New York Times-bestsellers I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number.

Sloane Crosley is the author of the novels Cult Classic and The Clasp and three essay collections: Look Alive Out There and the New York Times-bestsellers I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You...

Advance Praise

"Is it wrong to say that a memoir about loss and grieving is fun to read? If so, I’m in trouble, because I enjoyed every word of this book. I also ached and suffered along with Crosley: Her portrait of mourning after the suicide of her best friend is gutting and deeply engaging." —Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief

"Potent and propulsive, a lyrical meditation on loss and what comes after. Grief Is for People is heartbreaking and wholly original." —Tara Westover, author of Educated

"I have come to rely on Sloane Crosley for her oyster knife humor, bourbon hot observation, and indelible portraits of how we live with each other. Grief Is For People is about how we live without the ones we love. Crosley brings her whole self to this memoir—her gifts, her flaws, her intellect, her wit and emotion. She loves hard, grieves hard, and writes with the beauty and urgency of a white hot star. I wish I didn’t 'get' this book as much as I do but Grief Is for People is the book I didn’t know I needed to read." —Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage

"Grief Is for People captures the feeling of watching a beloved, inappropriate and wild person fit less and less with the times we live in. Like Didion's The Year Of Magical Thinking or Defoe's Journal of a Plague Year, Grief Is for People takes us through the ordinary, awful and never-quite-ending experience of loss. It also made me laugh very hard, many times. I can't stop thinking about it." —John Mulaney

“An indelible portrait of a singular friendship, Grief Is for People is a beautifully written and sharply observed memoir about grief, yes, but also: secrets, betrayal, rage, work, community, and most of all, love. It's both a provocation and a balm to the soul.” —Dani Shapiro, author of Family History

"In this vivid, and bitingly funny account, Sloane Crosley exposes the magical thinking and murk that follow a friend's suicide. Crosley's prose is honest, lucid, and always surprising; I can't imagine a better companion to guide us through the pain of losing a friend. A painful and necessary book; I will be keeping it close for years to come." —Meghan O'Rourke, author of The Invisible Kingdom

"Grief can feel like falling off a tall cliff in slow motion. Sloane Crosley maps each second of her descent through anguish and disbelief with such intelligence, humor, and unvarnished honesty that we never want to hit the ground. It’s a testament to Crosley’s enormous talent that she could transform such a terrible loss into a story that becomes more satisfying with each page: a celebration of the ambiguities of our deepest connections and a manifestation of love so strong that it emanates forgiveness and gratitude." —Heather Havrilesky, Ask Polly columnist and author of Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage

"Novelist and essayist Crosley is a tightrope writer of devastating wit and plain devastation, a balancing act no doubt requiring even more muscle in this memoir of her grief...This is a searching, impassioned, cathartic, and loving elegy." Booklist, starred review

"Not only a joy to read, but also a respectful and philosophical work . . . A sharp narrative that finds commonality in the dislocation brought on by these events . . . A warm remembrance sure to resonate with anyone who has experienced loss . . . Marvelously tender." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"In this aching meditation on loss and friendship, essayist and novelist Crosley (Cult Classic) eulogizes her late literary mentor and best friend against the backdrop of the high-pressure publishing industry...Her characteristically whip-smart prose takes on a newly introspective quality as she reinvigorates dusty publishing memoir tropes and captures the minutiae of a complicated friendship with humor and heart. This is a must-read." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Praise for Sloane Crosley:

"One of America's wittiest writers." —Andrew Sean Greer, author of Less is Lost

"Crosley wields her wit and commands all of your attention..." Esquire

“[Crosley] has that rare ability to treat scrapes with sardonic humor and inject serious subjects with levity and hijinks with real feeling — a sort of unlicensed nurse to our souls." NPR

"Is it wrong to say that a memoir about loss and grieving is fun to read? If so, I’m in trouble, because I enjoyed every word of this book. I also ached and suffered along with Crosley: Her portrait...

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ISBN 9780374609849
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Featured Reviews

I absolutely loved this memoir from Sloane Crosley. It was a not altogether new subject matter, but still nuanced in the treatment of death, grief, and processing trauma. Sloane has always had a way of holding you hostage in her pages and wrapping you tight in a feeling. This memoir is no different!

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This memoir is wonderful. I read this so quickly as Crosley’s writing is so immersive and witty I didn’t want to put it down. Dealing with such a hefty topic of suicide in the most raw and compassionate way, I will definitely return to this book again and again.

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As someone who rarely takes notes, underlines, or scribbles in the margins while reading, it is truly a testament to this book how much of it I ended up highlighting. So many passages and even sentences just stopped me in my tracks and had me reading them over and over again.

It feels almost impossible to weigh in on writing like this that is so raw and personal, but this book completely bowled me over and I will be thinking about it for a long time. I am such a fan of Crosley’s writing and her signature wit remains while she deftly recounts a time in her life that was marked by such devastating grief. I am honestly just so thankful that I was able to read this and find some comfort in how one can begin to deal with this specifically tragic and complicated type of loss.

I can’t recommend this highly enough.

Many thanks to Farrar, Straus, and Giroux and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I always find myself gravitating towards books that deal with grief.

It might be because grief, in its purest form, is deeply personal. When you’re in it, it feels like a thing that can’t be shared with others. At some points you think that sharing your grief would somehow lessen the importance of the thing you’re grieving. You feel alone in it, and sometimes that’s exactly what you want to feel. What you need to feel.

Grief is for People by Sloane Crosley is a vivid, raw portrayal of grief. It dissects those unreasonable, yet very real, feelings you have when someone close to you dies. In line with the theme, she quotes Didion a few times throughout the book. And I couldn’t help but notice the influence of Didion’s style in Crosley’s words. It’s that detached, yet ever so emotional and introspective prose, with quotes so precise that you won’t forget them any time soon. It’s brilliant.

As Sloane writes about the events surrounding her friend’s suicide, she weaves in bits from a burglary that happened to her exactly one month before her friend died. Due to their proximity in time, and her mind being clouded by grief, these events become interconnected for her. We see her trying, and failing, to find proof of her friend still being kept alive in the world. We see her pulling at the last bits of memory she has of her friend, trying to find a reason. An explanation as to why he left her in the world all alone.

This memoir was paradoxically sad and hilarious at the same time. It’s a story that gripped me right from the beginning, and I know I will be thinking about it for days to come. Thank you so much to FSG for the ARC.

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I've never read a book on grief that made me feel like someone else had a relationship with grief that comes close to mine, but Sloane Crosley's new book made me feel seen -- uncomfortably so at times, but seen nevertheless. I had to put the book aside multiple times during my reading to cry, wondering how some pixels on a screen could so effectively reactivate my feelings and remind me what it feels like when the grief is fresh, what it feels like to be trying to process the feelings while not wanting to process the feelings because processing them means my person is really gone. It's a beautiful, painful book, and I'll be getting a physical copy ASAP for my personal library.

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I have loved every single one of Sloane Crosley's books so I had admittedly high expectations of this one, and it exceeded all of them.

Two events happen in 2019 that greatly impact Sloane Crosley's life and are the focus of this book. Her apartment is broken in to one day while she is not home and all of her jewelry is stolen. While dealing with the fall out of this, her best friend and former boss dies by suicide.

This book is so heartbreaking while being so life affirming and overall so well written. The writing is beautiful, there were so many passages I wanted to save so I could re-read them again and again.

This is certainly not an easy read since it deals with grief and mourning, but I was so engrossed that I found myself thinking about it all the time and just wanting to get back to it.

I highly recommend this book, as well as Sloane Crosley's previous books, to everyone -- just be ready for a heavy yet lovely read.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book!

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I'd like to re-read this annually. What a stunning, moving, brilliant, witty book. A book on loss, grief, defining yourself, defining oneself against a best friend--- everything we lose when we lose someone we love, including the way they saw us

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