Ever since I discovered the work of Amy Koppelman winking up at me from Lilith’s slush pile I’ve kept her on our radar. We published her short fiction a few years ago. She’s a novelist of astonishing depth and power, with a dark and haunting voice that is both lyrical and fearless. The rest of the world seems now to agree, as the film based on her novel I Smile Back, starring—yes—Sarah Silverman in a dramatic role, opens commercially later this month after being received enthusiastically at Sundance.
In her new novel, Hesitation Wounds, Koppleman introduces us to Dr. Susanna Seliger, a renowned psychiatrist who specializes in treatment-resistant depression. Skilled and compassionate, Susa is always ready to discuss treatment options, medication, and symptom management but draws the line at engaging with feelings. Her own damaged past is made present by one patient, Jim, whose struggles tear her open, revealing her latent guilt that she could have saved the people she’s lost, especially her adored, cool, talented graffiti-artist brother. Spectacularly original, gorgeously unsettling, Hesitation Wounds is a novel that will sink deep and remain—like a persistent scar or a dangerous glow-in-the-dark memory.