Books: Sarah de Leeuw

🕔Mar 09, 2018

When Sarah de Leeuw signed my copy of her latest book, she wished me good reading and commented that she hoped I wouldn’t find her book “too much of a downer”.

Her very personal essays explore difficult topics: a childhood friend’s drowning, women murdered and missing, racism and loss. With no time for wallowing, however, she moves us through these uneasy landscapes shining a light on the shadows and staring them down until we see our own humanity in between coffee cups, movie theatres and gravel backroads.


Her prose is rhythmic and poetic, and her essays have a dream-like quality, scenes and ideas shifting and melding into each other—at once detailed and impressionistic. I look at this collection as a kind of guide book, something like “11 new routes you’ve never stopped to explore,” where the reader can use the book as a touchstone to understand their own experiences of living and witnessing difficult truths. Also like a book of hikes, these essays are best enjoyed with space in between.


Brew a coffee. Sit by the window. Put on some sturdy shoes and know that “Where it Hurts” is also where it heals. 

— Emily Bulmer