They Write Your Name on a Grain of Rice: On Cancer, Love, and Living Even So, Memoir by Lori Jakiela
Atticus Books, October 2023
They Write Your Name on a Grain of Rice—the latest book from award-winning Pittsburgh author Lori Jakiela—is much more than a cancer memoir. It’s a pause between polarities. Cancer is almost an afterthought. Inspired by Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, it celebrates the tiny moments that make up a time capsule of a life.
A weirdly funny book about mortality, Rice is also about family, genetics, nature vs. nurture, the Rust Belt, EPA clean-up zones, emotional support peacocks, box turtles, Emily Dickinson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Andy Warhol(a), and so much more. A fresh voice aligned with the work of classic stream-of-consciousness writers like Richard Brautigan and Virginia Woolf, Jakiela explores the way a mind works—complete with leaps and spirals—while reflecting on a life thoroughly lived against a dire breast cancer diagnosis.
Half new and selected essays, half spiraling memoir, Rice is experimental in both voice and form, and offers a fresh approach to age-old questions about life, love, mortality, and the fine art of living, even so.