"A poignant and piercing examination of the phenomenon of tears—exhaustive, yes, but also open-ended. . . A deeply felt, and genuinely touching, book." —Esmé Weijun Wang, author of The Collected Schizophrenias
"Spellbinding and propulsive—the map of a luminous mind in conversation with books, songs, friends, scientific theories, literary histories, her own jagged joy, and despair. Heather Christle is a visionary writer." —Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks
Heather Christle has just lost a dear friend to suicide and now must reckon with her own depression and the birth of her first child. As she faces her grief and impending parenthood, she decides to research the act of crying: what it is and why people do it, even if they rarely talk about it. Along the way, she discovers an artist who designed a frozen-tear-shooting gun and a moth that feeds on the tears of other animals. She researches tear-collecting devices (lachrymatories) and explores the role white women's tears play in racist violence.
Honest, intelligent, rapturous, and surprising, Christle's investigations look through a mosaic of science, history, and her own lived experience to find new ways of understanding life, loss, and mental illness. The Crying Book is a deeply personal tribute to the fascinating strangeness of tears and the unexpected resilience of joy.