Long-listed for the BC national non-fiction award!
Tumbling into adulthood as the world falls into post 9–11 madness, Samantha Bernstein vividly depicts a generation raised in the ruins of Baby Boomer idealism. The daughter of a hippie mom ground down by life in a relentless film industry, and an absent, famous poet father, Samantha enters her twenties outraged by the legacies of her predecessors. In emails chronicling five years, she writes toward a vision that reconciles history with the possibility of an ethical and hopeful future. Creating collectives that are at once joyous and politically engaged, the characters in this memoir accept loss, acknowledge fear, and fight cynicism. Exultant and poignant, caustic and tender, Here We Are Among the Living invites readers to look carefully at the world – to believe the choices we make matter, and that to love is the most important choice of all.
“In the book, written in five years’ worth of emails to her nearest and dearest, Bernstein details her life as a young woman falling in love and deciding what to do with the boundless energy of her youth. She also happens to be the youngest daughter of a Canadian literary luminary, the poet Irving Layton, and though he had next to no part in raising her, the psychic weight of his absence in her life and presence in the literary canon leaves a deep impression on Bernstein’s spirit. By virtue of both her youth and her DNA, Bernstein embodies a curiosity and lust for life. And she is, of course, a writer. By the terms she has explicitly set for the work, Bernstein’s memoir is a success.”—The National Post
“Here We Are Among the Living is a documentation of intersections between the personal and political… It’s the story of the profound ways in which an ordinary woman understands her place within the wider world.”—Kerry Clare, Pickle Me This
Samantha Bernstein’s poetry and prose has appeared in various publications, including Exile Literary Quarterly, The Fiddlehead and the anthology TOK 3: Writing the New Toronto. Samantha is a doctoral student at York University; her dissertation explores relationships between ethics and aesthetics. Sam and her husband play in Samba Elegua, a community drum orchestra that on any given day you might see dancing down a Toronto street.