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Peter Grandbois’s essay collection, Kissing the Lobster, uses the ancient samurai code of Bushido (Justice, Courage, Mercy, Courtesy, Honesty, Honor, Loyalty, and Character), then throws in a few of his own, as a lens through which to interrogate authenticity in a culture obsessed with surface and youth. The book is an ode to failure, a rallying cry for the inevitability of pain and the acceptance of loss. It is a reminder that in hiding from pain, in shying away from failure, we forget what is most essential in ourselves.