Nonlinear Exploration of Life

Guest Post by Karen J. Weyant

Sue William Silverman’s life is hanging by a thread.

Or, at least that may be the initial reaction a reader may get from Silverman’s latest collection, How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences. The title itself suggests that Silverman’s book is a catalog of death-defying experiences and yes, there are somber essays that explore her survival as a sexual assault victim and her hypochondriac ventures into the medical world. But other essays are more lighthearted, such as the one piece where, as a middle-aged narrator, she tells about her adventures at an Adam Lambert conference.

In essence, Silverman’s book is a nonlinear exploration of her life arranged into three sections adapted from the Three Fates of Greek Mythology: Clotho (the spinner) Lachesis (the measurer), and Atropos (the cutter). Sometimes, her essays tell stories in the traditional narrative form, while others use more experimental styles. However, read together, this collection is more than just about surviving death: it’s really about having hope and resilience in life.


How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences by Sue William Silverman. University of Nebraska Press, March 2020.

Reviewer bio: Karen J. Weyant‘s essays have been published in BioStories, Briar Cliff Review, Carbon Culture Review, Crab Creek Review, Coal Hill Review, Lake Effect and Waccamaw. She is an Associate Professor of English at Jamestown Community College in Jamestown, New York.

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