Heather Christle (2020) The Crying Book.

The Crying Book doesn’t really have a beginning or end. Heather Christle explains: ‘This book began five years ago with an idle idea about what it might look like to make a map of every place I’d ever cried…’ So it’s an ongoing conversation like making a rug of your experiences, tagging it onto another strip. Crying with friends. Crying alone. Crying for god’s sake.

‘I suppose some people can weep softly and become more beautiful, but after a real cry, most people are hideous, as if they’ve grown a spare and diseased face beneath the one you’ve known, leaving very little room for the eyes. Or they look as if they’ve been beaten. We look. I look

‘After a trip to the emergency room and CT scan, a doctor announces it was not a stroke, only an ocular migraine. I remember different occasions, years ago, when my vision suddenly went askew, and I was for a short time unable to read words. I’d hold a book in front of me and see the black symbols, but could not decipher them. They looked to me just as they’d done before I learned how to read: orderly, attractive, incomprehensible. On that day I wept.’

Men cry differently from women, it’s a cultural thing, but also the way we read ourselves. This is a book worth dipping in and out of. A refresher course in common humanity. Read on.