Like the Russian author Svetlana Alexievich, award-winning journalist J. Malcolm Garcia lets the people he writes about speak for themselves. The soaring narratives told in The Fruit of All My Grief let us feel the fears, hopes, and outrage of those quietly fighting for their lives while living in the shadows of the American Dream.
They go by a lot of different names—civilians, unintended victims, innocent bystanders—but no matter what they are called, their stories are most frequently left untold. From the families scraping by in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, to the prisoner sentenced to life for transporting drugs to save his son’s life, to the Iraqi interpreter who was promised American asylum, only to arrive and be forced to live in poverty, the people whose stories are told in this book all lead rich and multifaceted lives of struggle, the telling of which honors them—and us. The Fruit of All My Grief returns us to the universal themes of endurance, struggle, survival, and the injustices of mammoth institutions and public indifference. J. Malcolm Garcia’s soaring narratives amount to an updated portrait of lives lived in the shadows of the American dream—not in the Great Depression years or in the McCarthy era but very much now in the closing year of the second decade of the twenty-first century.