In We Are Okay, author Nina LaCour (Everything Leads to You) tells a story more of absence than presence, looking with calm directness at grief and betrayal and the ways they can multiply outward. It’s a beautiful, devastating piece of art.
Marin is in school in New York, quietly living a new life and trying to leave behind the life she ran from. Her lonely Christmas break is interrupted by a visit from her best friend (and now ex-girlfriend), Mabel. The truth about the event that caused Marin to leave San Francisco with only what she held in her hands comes out slowly, and her grief in the face of it is cavernous. But notice the details LaCour shines a light on: the perfect yellow bowls Marin bought at a pottery shop, the potted plant thriving and in need of a larger container. If her existence now is sparse, it is not without color, or life.
The title hints at a happy ending, but the journey toward it passes through some of the darkest corners of the heart. Be prepared to be gutted—and grateful. We Are Okay is an extraordinary work by an author who keeps redefining and elevating her genre. Readers are lucky to have it.