Grief Is for People (Hardcover)

Grief Is for People By Sloane Crosley Cover Image
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“Grief has deepened Crosley’s craft. This memoir is the funniest book of the year, as any of her readers would expect, but it’s also profound and heartbreaking. She is our Nora Ephron; we’re lucky to have her.”
— Sarah McNally, McNally Jackson Books, New York, NY


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.

About the Author

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.

Praise For…

"There's nothing traditional or twice-cooked about Crosley's voice, her arresting observations . . .Throughout, Crosley cites Joan Didion, whose two personal books on grief, The Year Of Magical Thinking and Blue Nights, she obviously sees as a touchstone for her own. To me, Grief Is For People is every bit their equal in eloquence, intensity and toughness."
Maureen Corrigan, NPR

"Sloane Crosley finds a way to take the formless devastation of an acute loss — the death of her friend Russell — and transform it into a work of art: a chronicle of grief finely, closely observed."
—Christopher Cox, New York Magazine

"Impeccably crafted, this book pushes an already feted writer into potent new territory."
—Hephzibah Anderson, The Guardian

"Grief Is for People finds Sloane Crosley grappling with an apartment break-in and, not long after, the death of a dear friend and colleague by suicide. In prose that is both personal and raw—and yet somehow still makes room for Crosley's rightfully-heralded wit—Grief Is for People is a powerful, touching memoir that explores a place we are all going to be at some point. Yet, despite it being a mourning book, this is not a grim or dark book-- but a poignant and relatable one, with a sly humor and heartbreaking candor that beautifully expresses anger, acceptance, and love."
—Isaac Fitzgerald, The TODAY Show

"[Crosley's] signature shrewdness comes through, particularly in the Depression section, which shows the author in the depths of her grief, but offers relief through humorous lines of dialogue and passing thoughts on pandemic-era activities . . . [Crosley is] offering us a look into [Perreault's] life through the lens of her love, pain and admiration. Telling us, with precision and generosity, how it might be when it is our turn to remember what was true about those we’ve lost."
Ashley C. Ford, The New York Times Book Review

"Grief Is for People is a moving and much-needed tribute to this vital but often unsung human relationship. . . Crosley's book is a roaring success."
—Becca Rothfeld, The Washington Post

“Crosley’s writing sparkles with a remarkable wit . . . [Grief Is for People] is more bold, probing, and exposed than anything else she has published . . . By attesting to her pain so publicly and poignantly, Crosley again shows her noteworthy literary chops, as well as her unambiguous love for all that’s been lost.”
—Cory Oldweiler, The Boston Globe

“A stunning investigation into the nature of loss . . . [Crosley] hasn’t abandoned her spritely wit, but she is looking more critically at what matters here.”
—Chloe Schama, Vogue

“Raw and poignant . . . Leavened by Crosley’s characteristic gimlet wit, this excavation of grief, loss, and friendship leaves a lasting twinge.”
—Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire

"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)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374609849
ISBN-10: 0374609845
Publisher: MCD
Publication Date: February 27th, 2024
Pages: 208
Language: English