Hard Cover eBook


PAGES: 352


ISBN: 978-1-61620-622-2

LIST PRICE: $26.95


PAGES: 352

ISBN: 978-1-61620-718-2

LIST PRICE: $26.95

“Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it’s bigger—and stronger—than before.”  —Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

How can a woman learn to let go of the people she loves the most?

Karen Neulander, a successful New York political consultant and single mother, has always been fiercely protective of her son, Jacob, now six. She’s had to be: when Jacob’s father, Dave, found out Karen was pregnant and made it clear that fatherhood wasn’t in his plans, Karen walked out of the relationship, never telling Dave her intention was to raise their child alone.

But now Jake is asking to meet his dad, and with good reason: Karen is dying. When she finally calls her ex, she’s shocked to find Dave ecstatic about the son he never knew he had. First, he can’t meet Jake fast enough, and then he can’t seem to leave him alone. Karen quickly grows anxious as she watches Dave insinuate himself into Jake’s life just as her own strength and hold on Jake grow more tenuous.

As she struggles to play out her last days in the “right” way for Jake, Karen wrestles with the knowledge that the only thing she cannot bring herself to do for her son—let his father become a permanent part of his life—is the thing he needs from her the most. With heart-wrenching poignancy, unexpected wit, and mordant humor, Lauren Grodstein has created an unforgettable story about parenthood, sacrifice, and life itself.


"In Our Short History, Lauren Grodstein breaks your heart, then miraculously pieces it back together so it’s bigger—and stronger—than before. This novel will leave you appreciating both the messiness of life and the immense depths of love.” Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You

“One of the best books of 2017….Grodstein has not just written another beautiful book, but one with deep purpose and meaning.” Roar

“­Grodstein’s heartbreaking, character-driven story is told in the remarkable, believable voice of a courageous, sympathetic character.” Library Journal, starred review

“A tender tale…Grodstein has a fine touch, alternately sarcastic, perceptive and wistful.” Minneapolis Star Tribune

Meet the Author

Photo Credit: Nina Subin

Lauren Grodstein is the author of the Washington Post Book of the Year The Explanation for Everything and the New York Times bestselling A Friend of the Family, among other works. Her stories, essays, and articles have appeared in various literary magazines and anthologies, and have been translated into several languages. Her work has also appeared in Gourmet, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. She directs the MFA program at Rutgers University, Camden, where she is an associate professor of English.

In her free time – of which, like most working mothers, she has too little — Lauren bakes, reads voraciously, hikes (or at least takes vigorous walks around her neighborhood), and watches cooking shows with her child. She also serially dreams of home improvement, but mostly just moves chairs around. Although she left New York City years ago, she considers herself a New Yorker and roots for the Mets with a passion that feels, to many of her acquaintances, deranged. She spent many hundreds of dollars to see the Mets play the Cubs in the 2015 playoffs at Citifield and would have spent more.

Lauren collects American ceramics and visual art. She loves a big thrift store and a cheap strong drink.

She and her husband, Ben, met at a Lower East Side bar in early 2001 and have been together, more or less, ever since. Their son Nathaniel is seven and a half.