Thursday, April 22, 2021


Precarious. In her novel titled, Want, Lynn Steger Strong dissects the fragility of contemporary life for those we used to be members of what we call the middle class. The desires of protagonist Elizabeth are not fleeting whims. It just seems that she is unable to get what she wants. Instead of getting a tenured university job with her English literature Ph.D., she has one job at a charter high school, and another as an adjunct at her alma mater. Her husband had the bad luck to lose his finance job at Lehman Brothers, and now does artisanal woodwork when he finds a client. There were big medical bills and past psychological strife and addiction. There are now kids in their crowded Brooklyn one bedroom. There’s a bankruptcy looming. A cherished friendship ruptured, and now that friend’s life has also taken a turn for the worse. Therein we find what we all really want: kindness and the nourishment we can receive from friends. The litany of laments could have overpowered this narrative, but Strong’s writing skill kept us facing reality while she led us to appreciate our vulnerability and the precarious nature of life for all of us. Rating: Four-star (I like it) Click here to purchase Want from

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