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Synopsis

"All of us are creatures of a day,” wrote Marcus Aurelius, “rememberer and remembered alike.” In his long-awaited new collection of stories, renowned psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom describes his patients’ struggles—as well as his own—to come to terms with the two great challenges of existence: how to have a meaningful life, and how to reckon with its inevitable end. In these pages, we meet a nurse, angry and adrift in a morass of misery where she has lost a son to a world of drugs and crime, and yet who must comfort the more privileged through their own pain; a successful businessman who, in the wake of a suicide, despairs about the gaps and secrets that infect every relationship; a newly minted psychologist whose study of the human condition damages her treasured memories of a lost friend; and a man whose rejection of philosophy forces even Yalom himself into a crisis of confidence. Their names and stories will linger long after the book’s last page is turned.

Like Love’s Executioner, which established Yalom’s preeminence as a storyteller illuminating the drama of existential therapy, Creatures of a Day is funny, earthy, and often shocking; it is a radically honest statement about the difficulties of human life, but also a celebration of some of the finest fruits—love, family, friendship—that life can bear. We are all creatures of a day. With Yalom as a guide, we can find in this book the means not just to make our own day bearable, but meaningful—and perhaps even joyful.

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